According to SCMP, US scientists said yesterday that they had created a 3D molecular map of the virus. corona new strain (COVID-19). This is considered an important step in the development of vaccines and treatments for pneumonia caused by this virus.
Currently, COVID-19 has killed more than 2,000 people and more than 75,000 have confirmed positive for the disease since the first case was discovered in December last year.
A team of researchers from the University of Texas at Austin and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) looked at the Chinese genetic code provided by the Chinese and used it to develop a sample of the “splinter protein” part. .
This protein is found in the corona virus sheath and is used by them to invade a host’s cells during infection. Identification of splinter protein is of great help in the development of vaccines and antibodies for treatment and diagnosis.
The researchers used a modern technology called cryogenic electron microscopes to redraw the virus image and publish their research in Science.
3D protein map of COVID-19 virus. Photo: SCMP
“These protein splinters are the antigens that we want to put in our bodies so that the immune system of the antibody makes antibodies against them. Once the virus actually appears, the human immune system will have it ready. ready to resist, “ Jason McLellan, lead scientist at the University of Texas, said.
He said he and his colleagues spent a lot of time studying other corona viruses, including SARS and MERS. That helped them develop a way to keep the splinter proteins stable.
NIH believes that the splinter protein that this group makes has the potential to become a vaccine for COVID-19.
The team is sending molecular structure maps to other laboratories around the world for scientists to create stronger resistance reactions.
The model could help scientists develop new proteins to cling to different parts of the splinter protein and stop them from working and treating the infected parts.
Benjamin Neuman at A&M-Texarkana University, a virologist who was not involved in the study, said: “This is a beautiful and clear structure of one of the most important proteins in the corona virus. It can be said that the research is a breakthrough in understanding how corona viruses find their way into cells.”
“This structure shows that although the splinter protein is made up of three identical proteins, one is more curved than the other and allows the virus to have a longer reach,” he said.
Another useful point of this map is that it shows the size and location of the sugar molecule chains that the virus uses to avoid detection by the immune system.
A cold electron microscope is a method that uses electron rays to examine the molecular structure of frozen biomolecules. These three scientists who developed the technique were awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.