The corona virus enters the body cells through a link between the virus’ spike protein and the ace 2 protein, which exists on the surface of the cell. The vaccine’s approach to the virus is by creating a spike protein in the body, which elicits an immune response by causing the formation of antibodies from the viral protein, which in turn block its pathway to the ace2 protein.
The vaccines given today are effective, but a large number of the world’s population is still unvaccinated, which allows the virus to keep changing and be resilient, at least in part, against them. This means there is a need to continue developing further strategies at the same time to deal with the pandemic.
Another possible strategy is to block the linking site of the human Ace2 protein with the viral protein spike. The problem in developing a drug that binds to the protein Ace2 is that it can harm the natural activity of the protein itself, which can be detrimental, as it can bind to non-appropriate parts of the protein. It is therefore imperative that the creation of a drug, which blocks the binding of the spike protein, would not interfere with the natural activity of the protein Ace2, and such an achievement is currently being recorded in Professor Gideon Schreiber’s lab.
Using advanced methods in molecular biology, the researchers built a system, which simulates the evolution of variant creation of the virus using real proteins. The researchers managed to produce more active versions of the spike protein, some of which are very similar to the variants the developed naturally.
This has two far-reaching consequences:
The first – there is a system that allows to produce versions of the spike protein safely and separately from other parts of the virus, which enables preparation for future versions of the virus.
And the second – This system can be used to build versions of the spike protein that will bind the Ace2 site better than the natural versions without interfering with the normal process of Ace2.
In the original article, which was published in the “Nature” magazine, the researchers show that the spike protein they created binds 1000 times better than the natural Spike and inhibits viral contagion on model cells as well as on animals. In addition, the protein does not impair the activity of the Ace2 protein.
Such knowledge and method can enable shorter schedules for the development and distribution of products and vaccines against any viral threats, and not just the corona virus.
Link to original article https://www.nature.com/articles/s41564-021-00954-4