We use cookies to understand how you use our site and to improve your experience. This includes personalizing content and advertising. To learn more, click here. By continuing to use our site, you accept our use of cookies. Cookie Policy.

Features Partner Sites Information LinkXpress
Sign In
Advertise with Us

Download Mobile App

New Light on Molecular Factors Related to SARS-CoV-2 Variants Could Improve COVID-19 Management

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 10 Feb 2022
Print article
Image: Two Kappa variant spike proteins (Photo courtesy of Dr. Sriram Subramaniam/University of British Columbia)
Image: Two Kappa variant spike proteins (Photo courtesy of Dr. Sriram Subramaniam/University of British Columbia)

Researchers are shedding new light on the molecular factors that give variants of SARS-CoV-2 a competitive edge - essential knowledge that could improve disease management as new variants continue to emerge.

A study by researchers at the University of British Columbia (Vancouver, BC Canada) examined the structural and biochemical properties of the Kappa and Delta variants, which co-emerged in India in late 2020. The findings help explain how the Delta variant may have been able to beat out the Kappa variant and become dominant across the globe. For the study, the researchers used cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) to examine the atomic-level structure of the Delta and Kappa viral spike proteins, as well as biochemical studies to assess how strongly the spike protein binds with the ACE2 receptor on human cells.

The researchers found that both variants display evasion from antibodies that target a specific part of the spike protein, known as the N-terminal domain. However, when compared to the Kappa variant and wild-type SARS-CoV-2, the Delta variant spike protein was shown to create stronger bonds with the human ACE2 receptor. Notably, the Kappa variant spike protein displayed an unusual property, where two Kappa spike proteins were able to join together in what’s known as a “stacked head-to-head dimer” - a structure not yet seen in any other SARS-CoV-2 variant. The researchers say it is not clear if this unexpected feature was one of the molecular factors that led to Kappa being outcompeted by the Delta variant.

“We are at a point in the pandemic where new variants continue to emerge and compete with each other. It’s very much survival of the fittest,” said senior author Dr. Sriram Subramaniam, professor in UBC’s faculty of medicine. “Understanding the factors that underpin the ‘fitness’ of each variant will allow us to respond more effectively to emerging threats and better target treatments.”

Related Links:
University of British Columbia 

Print article


Surgical Techniques

view channel
Image: The NaoTrac CE-certified neurosurgical navigation robot has received TFDA approval (Photo courtesy of Brain Navi Biotechnology)

Neurosurgical Navigation Robot Combines AI and Machine Vision to Streamline Procedures

Amidst the increasing demand for minimally invasive surgery, neuro-navigation has become standard in neurosurgery worldwide. Currently, most navigation systems use a “vision-based optical tracking system”... Read more

Patient Care

view channel
Image: The biomolecular film can be picked up with tweezers and placed onto a wound (Photo courtesy of TUM)

Biomolecular Wound Healing Film Adheres to Sensitive Tissue and Releases Active Ingredients

Conventional bandages may be very effective for treating smaller skin abrasions, but things get more difficult when it comes to soft-tissue injuries such as on the tongue or on sensitive surfaces like... Read more

Health IT

view channel
Image: AI can reveal a patient`s heart health (Photo courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

AI Trained for Specific Vocal Biomarkers Could Accurately Predict Coronary Artery Disease

Earlier studies have examined the use of voice analysis for identifying voice markers associated with coronary artery disease (CAD) and heart failure. Other research groups have explored the use of similar... Read more


view channel
Image: The global capsule endoscopy system market is growing at a rapid pace (Photo courtesy of Pexels)

Capsule Endoscopy System Market Driven by Rising Preference for Minimally Invasive Screening Procedure

Capsule endoscopy is generally a non-invasive technique that enables complete examination of the gastrointestinal tract with the use of the disposable and wireless device known as the video capsule.... Read more
Copyright © 2000-2022 Globetech Media. All rights reserved.