VANCOUVER — Researchers at the University of British Columbia have discovered what they call a “soft spot” in the virus that causes COVID-19.
A study published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Nature Communications indicates that the “key vulnerability” is found in all major variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Researchers say exploiting this weakness could pave the way for new treatments that would be effective against all strains of the disease that has killed nearly 6.5 million people worldwide since it was first identified. over two years ago.
The study’s lead author, UBC Medical School professor Dr Sriram Subramaniam, says the team studied the virus at the atomic level, found the weak spot and identified an antibody fragment that can attach to it and all other variants, including the increased Omicron sub-variants.
Antibodies neutralize viruses by fitting like a key in a lock and are no longer effective when the virus mutates rapidly, but Subramaniam says the weak point is consistent across all seven major variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, allowing a antibodies to act as a “master key” capable of overcoming important mutations.
Subramaniam says the weak point and master key identified in the study “open up a whole new realm of treatment possibilities” that have the potential to be effective against current or future variants of the virus that causes COVID-19.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on August 18, 2022.
The Canadian Press