SARS-CoV-2 Displays Higher Affinity

Coronaviruses SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV share the same functional host-cell receptor

depiction of virus

A new report published on the website bioRxiv said the new ‘coronavirus had around 10 to 20-fold higher affinity – the degree to which a substance tends to combine with another – for human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) compared with SARS.’

Published without peer-review by researchers at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology on February 12, 2020, this report says the coronaviruses SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV share the same functional host-cell receptor, ACE2.

‘There is an imminent need to better understand this new virus and to develop ways to control its spread. Compared with SARS-CoV, the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 appears to be more readily transmitted from human to human,’ the study said.

‘The high affinity of 2019-nCoV  for human ACE2 may contribute to the apparent ease with which 2019-nCoV can spread from human to human.’

These researchers continued saying ‘The quest for a vaccine against the novel SARS-CoV-2 is recognized as an urgent problem.’

‘An effective vaccination could indeed play a significant role in curbing the spread of the virus, and help to eliminate it from the human population.’

‘However, scientific efforts to address this challenge are only just beginning.’ 

‘Much remains to be learned about the SARS-CoV-2, its biological properties, epidemiology, etc.’ 

‘At this early stage, there is also a lack of information about specific immune responses against SARS-CoV-2, which presents a challenge for vaccine development.’

This study has sought to assist with the initial phase of vaccine development, by providing recommendations of epitopes that may potentially be considered for incorporation in subunit vaccine designs. 

Different from this new study, which is focused on the linear and discontinuous SARS-CoV-derived epitopes, a previous analysis considered linear B cell epitope data for all Betacoronaviruses from human hosts.

While only a summary of the results has been provided so far, preventing direct comparison of the individual epitopes (the part of an antigen molecule to which an antibody attaches itself) 10 to 20-fold higher affinity – the degree to which a substance tends to combine with another – for human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) compared with SARS.’, the number of linear B cell epitopes reported to map identically to SARS-CoV-2 is comparable to our findings.

In conclusion, these researchers added that further studies are needed to explore the human host-cell receptor’s role in helping the new virus to spread from person to person.

As of February 20, 2020, the US Food and Drug Administration has not approved any vaccines for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

These authors declare that they have no conflict of interest. Correspondence should be addressed to [email protected] and [email protected]

SARS-CoV-2 outbreak news is published by Coronavirus Today.

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