On compared to protein of the spike of previous versions of the coronavirus, that of the worrying Delta variant penetrates better in lung cells and you can merge them, according to researchers.
The spread by cell-to-cell fusion allows the virus to spread more rapidly in infected people and partially conceal itself from the immune system, “said Markus Hoffman of the Georg-August University of Göttingen in Germany, one of the authors of a report published Wednesday in bioRxiv ahead of peer review.
For example, if a cell infected by the Delta variant is forced (by the spike protein) to fuse with a neighboring cell that is not yet infected, this allows the virus to enter the new cell much faster “than if the particles of the virus had to first be released from a previously infected cell, he explained.
By spreading through the fusion between cells, the virus reduces the risk of encountering cells of the immune system that could attack you and inactivate it, Hoffman added.
These “skills” could make the Delta variant – first identified in India and now circulating in many countries – is more communicable, and the resulting disease is more severe, the researchers said.
The researchers also found that although the Delta variant can evade antibodies, it does not it is completely resistant.
It is possible that the Delta variant can infect vaccinated people (especially if only one of the two doses has been given so far), but vaccination is very effective in preventing severe disease, “Hoffman said.