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Apr 15, 2020

COVID-19 coronavirus spike holds infectivity details

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

The spikes crowning the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19 atypical pneumonia are divulging how they attach, fuse and gain entry to cells. Analysis of the spike architecture and its mechanics is locating the virus’ vulnerabilities, and revealing other information that could prompt the discovery of countermeasures against this virus.

A research team at the University of Washington School of Medicine and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Institute uses cryo-electron microscopy and other investigative methods in this effort. They are helping to determine the structure and function of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and its chemical binding affinities as these relate to both infection and immune responses, and thereby obtain ideas for blocking the virus’ ingress to cells.

Their multiple findings were published as a preliminary report Feb.20 in bioRxiv, a preprint server for biology. The lead authors are Alexandra C. “Lexi” Walls, a recent postdoctoral fellow, and Young-Jun Park, a research scientist. Both conduct coronavirus studies in the lab of David Veesler, senior author of the report and assistant professor of biochemistry at the UW School of Medicine.

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