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First images of B.1.17 COVID-19 unveiled by UBC

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New Delhi, May 04: The first structural images of a mutation in the B.1.1.7 variant of COVID-19 have ben published. This may explain why this strain has proved far more infectious than the previous one.

The pictures, taken at near-atomic resolution, provide critical insight as to why the B.1.1.7 variant-first detected in the U.K and now accounting for a growing number of cases across Canada-is more infectious. The images also add to the growing body of data indicating that existing vaccines are likely to remain effective in preventing mild and severe cases caused by B.1.1.7 said University of British Columbia.

First images of B.1.17 COVID-19 unveiled by UBC

The research team was led by Dr Sriram Subramaniam, professor in UBC faculty of medicine's department of biochemistry and molecular biology.

"The images we captured provide the first structural glimpse of the N501Y mutant and show that the changes resulting from the mutation are localised. In fact, the N501Y mutation is the only mutation in the B.1.1.7 variant that is located on the portion of the spike protein that binds to the human ACE2 receptor, which is the enzyme on the surface of our cells that serves as the entry gate for Sars-CoV-2," Dr Subramaniam said.

Our analysis revealed that even though the N501Y mutant can bind and enter our cells more readily, it can still be neutralised by antibodies that block the entry of the unmutated version of the virus into cells, he said.

Click here to read the entire report: https://news.ubc.ca/2021/05/03/ubc-researchers-unveil-first-molecular-images-of-b-1-1-7-covid-19-mutation/

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