Evolution of coronavirus towards immune-resistant strains revealed

Science: the coronavirus was prone to mutations that reduce the effectiveness of treatment immune defenses, including natural immunity acquired through infection or vaccination; and reduce the effectiveness of antibody-based treatments. This is reported in an article published in the journal Science.

The authors of the work warn that the study results may not be directly applicable to the omicron variant because the behavior of this particular strain will depend on its own unique set of mutations (at least 30 in the S spike protein) and how it competes with others. active strains circulating around the world. However, scientists note that the longer the virus continues to replicate in the human body, the more likely it is that it will continue to evolve towards greater resistance to immunity and antibody treatment.

This means that as much effort as possible is needed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, including mass vaccinations around the world, in order to stop its evolution. It turned out that SARS-CoV-2 is prone to acquire mutations that allow infection to resist neutralizing antibodies, and, as a rule, these variants arise in the body of weakened people. Mutations affect the S-protein of the coronavirus, but do not impair its ability to bind to cellular receptors.

Researchers have also found one antibody that can effectively neutralize all tested variants. However, they also noted that the virus could evade this antibody if a single mutation occurs in the S protein that adds a sugar molecule where the antibody binds to the virus. In terms of vaccines, the RNA vaccine retains some efficacy against all variants, including highly mutated pseudotypes (laboratory substitutes for the virus that cannot be transmitted).