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According to Dr. Sriram Subramaniam, professor in the UBC faculty of medicine’s department of biochemistry and molecular biology, Omicron has a higher binding affinity than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus, with levels that are comparable to the Delta variety.
An Indian-origin scientist was part of a team of researchers at the famous University of British Columbia who undertook the world’s first molecular-level structural investigation of the Omicron spike protein, which could aid in the creation of more effective treatments for the variation.
Spike protein assists the virus in entering and infecting human cells. According to Dr. Sriram Subramaniam, professor in the UBC faculty of medicine’s department of biochemistry and molecular biology, Omicron has a higher binding affinity than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus, with levels that are comparable to the Delta variety.
The findings, which were published in the journal Science, give new information on why Omicron is more transmissible and will aid in the creation of more effective treatments.
“The Omicron variant is exceptional in that it has 37 spike protein mutations, which is three to five times more mutations than any other variant we’ve encountered,” stated Dr. Subramaniam. It is necessary for two reasons. For starters, the spike protein is how the virus binds to and infects human cells.
Second, to neutralize the virus, antibodies bind to the spike protein, he added. As a result, even minor changes to the spike protein can have a huge impact on how the virus spreads, how the body fights it, and how successful treatments are.
He claimed that Omicron was less evasive of vaccine-induced immunity than of spontaneous infection in unprotected COVID-19 patients.
According to the doctor, both the traits exhibited as a result of spike protein changes, robust interaction with human cells, and greater antibody evasion, are probable contributing causes to the Omicron variant’s increasing transmissibility.
These are the basic mechanisms driving Omicron’s rapid spread, and he believes it has the potential to become the dominant variant of SARS-CoV-2 very quickly.
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