It has been more than a year since the first cases of coronavirus. It started in China and from there it spread throughout the world. Since then, restrictions and measures to combat the SARS-CoV-2 they are many and varied.
This pathogen, which causes COVID-19 disease, enters our body through the respiratory tract, hence the use of masks with which to cover both the mouth and the nostrils. After that, thanks to the spike protein, it manages to attach itself to the cells in order to infect the body.
From the first months of the pandemic, this protein S (spike) as the entry route for the coronavirus into the human body. Thanks to her connects’ to the enzyme ACE2. This would act as a lock, while the spike protein is the Key that fits and infects humans with COVID-19.
The goal of vaccines
That is precisely the goal of vaccines: neutralize this spike protein to prevent it from continuing on its way to the ACE2 enzyme. What the treatment achieves is that our immune system recognizes this protein as a strange element, which should not be in our body. Thus, antibodies and T lymphocytes are produced, which act as memory in the body. If a vaccinated person becomes infected with coronavirus, lymphocytes are responsible for recognizing the spike protein and destroying it.
A mutation in protein S, behind the most infectious variants
In the last few months, various variants of the coronavirus. Some of them, those of greatest concern (United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil), have a mutation in the spike protein that makes them up to eight times more contagious.
According to a study published in the eLife journal, conducted by New York University, in conjunction with the Genome Center and Mount Sinai Hospital, “Corroborates the findings that the D614G mutation makes SARS-CoV-2 more transmissible”.
Although this does not mean that a more serious picture of the disease can develop, experts show their concern that this mutation could make the virus more resistant to vaccines. Therefore, they consider “beneficial” that future treatments incorporate “various forms of protein S of different variants”.