Researchers Discover Hidden SARS-CoV-2 “Gate” That Opens to Allow COVID Infection; Supercomputing-Derived Movies Reveal Details of Deceptive Sugar Coating on Spike Protein, Presenting New Possibilities to Block Cell Entry and Infection

Since the early days of the COVID pandemic, scientists have aggressively pursued the secrets of the mechanisms that allow severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) to enter and infect healthy human cells. Early in the pandemic, University of California San Diego’s (UCSD’s) Rommie Amaro (photo), PhD, a computational biophysical chemist, helped develop a detailed visualization of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein that efficiently latches onto our cell receptors. Now, Dr. Amaro and her research colleagues from UCSD, University of Pittsburgh, University of Texas at Austin, Columbia  University, and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee have discovered how glycans—molecules that make up a sugary residue around the edges of the spike protein—act as infection gateways.

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