Achilles’ heel found in strains of coronavirus

Chinese scientists have found the vulnerability of coronaviruses that will help create universal vaccines.

The findings of the Chinese researchers have been published in the bioRxiv repository. Scientists have discovered during their research a neutralizing monoclonal antibody 35B5, which is excellent as a base for a vaccine that is effective against all strains of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. This helped scientists find a point of vulnerability in the coronavirus itself, which does not undergo mutations.

The discovered antibody 35B5, like all neutralizing monoclonal antibodies (mAbs), targets the receptor binding domain (RBD) of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. RBD is an important part of the S-protein that binds to the cellular receptor ACE2 in human tissues and organs. Unfortunately, it is already known that alarming strains of coronavirus reduce the effectiveness of currently approved vaccines and neutralizing antibodies.

But scientists have demonstrated that mAb 35B5 effectively neutralizes wild-type (WT) SARS-CoV-2 and dangerous strains, including variant B.1.617.2 (Delta): both in the laboratory and inside a living organism. Cryo-electron microscopy studies have shown that 35B5 neutralizes SARS-CoV-2 by acting on a unique epitope – a site that is a direct target for antibodies.

It differs from the rest of the receptor-binding domain in that it does not undergo mutations, which are characteristic of the emergence of new strains of concern. That is, this component of the coronavirus can become a “target” for universal vaccines.

Earlier, researchers from the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University of Frankfurt said they had discovered the key vulnerabilities of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. German scientists have found 15 short segments of the coronavirus genome that are not capable of mutation and therefore act as points of vulnerability in the genome.

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