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the model to predict the danger of the new variants

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the model to predict the danger of the new variants

The Omicron variant it is still the most widespread in Italy, famous for its own high transmissibility and for its ability to evade antibodies. An Italian study provides «a possible interpretation of the greater ease of transmission of the Omicron variant ».

It was discovered like the Spike protein of the Omicron variant interacts with human antibodies, which would be able to recognize it even if they have come into contact with previous versions of the virus.

This is demonstrated and explained by a study carried out by the Institute of Food Sciences (Isa) of the National Research Council of Avellino and the Department of Chemistry and Biology «A. Zambelli »of the University of Salerno. The study wanted to prove the capacity of antibodiescame into contact with other variants of the virus, of recognize the Spike protein of the Omicron variant of Sars-CoV-2 and understand how it interacts with the ACE2 receptor, that is the pathway of entry into our cells.

How Omicron interacts with our immune defenses: the study

The study, published in “Molecules”, is based on the conception of an innovative automated bioinformatics procedure able to simulate the interaction of the Spike protein in the Omicron variant with the antibodies produced by our organism. It was, therefore, possible to obtain gods models of the interaction of this Spike protein with antibodies on the basis of over 150 molecular models of Spike-antibody complexes already known for the previous variants of the virus and analyze the characteristics of the interaction, highlighting how the new Spike protein can be recognized or not by the antibodies developed against the old variants.

“The work done has shown that many antibodies already present in our body they can also recognize the Spike protein of the Omicron variant, although with some differences in the molecular interactions that can form. Furthermore, by also studying the mechanism of interaction with the ACE2 receptor, we have highlighted some differences with respect to the Spike protein of the previous variants, offering a possible interpretation of the greater ease of transmission of the Omicron variant “, explained Angelo Facchiano (Cnr-Isa), responsible for the study together with Anna Marabotti for the University of Salerno.

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A research, explain the authors, which may have an important implication even in the event of the appearance of new variants: the procedure carried out, in fact, is able to simulate the substitutions of amino acids present in the variants and of provide a prediction of the effects in terms of the ability to fight infection by the immune defenses offered by antibodies in the body.

A study that could, therefore, also help in understanding the transmission capacity of the new sub-variant Centaurus, which could have a contagion capacity almost double that of Omicron (Omicron’s zero erre is estimated between 15 and 17).

The sub-variant is characterized precisely by the nine mutations of the Spike protein and this would allow the virus a great evasion to the immunity of the vaccine and previous infections. With the new study it could be understood the impact that the new variant can have also in view of the arrival of autumn, when the infections could rise again after the end of the summer wave.

“With this procedure it took only a few weeks from the discovery of the Omicron variant and from the declaration of ‘Variant Of Concern’ by the World Health Organization to obtain the results about the interactions of antibodies: it is therefore a tool that can be effectively put available to the scientific community in the event of new variants of the virus “.

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