Scientists get a fix on coronavirus’ deadly weapon

Coronavirus spike protein

These diagrams show the protein structure for the “spike” that’s used by the coronavirus known as COVID-19 to force its way into cells. The diagram at left shows the spike with a molecular key known as the RBD in the “down” position. The middle diagram shows the RBD-up conformation, and the diagram at right shows the spike on the SARS virus for comparison’s sake. (Wrapp, Wang et al. / UT-Austin / NIH via Science / AAAS)

Biochemists have created the first 3-D, atomic-scale map of key proteins in the killer coronavirus, opening up new possibilities for developing treatments and a vaccine.

Researchers at the University of Washington and its Institute for Protein Design are among the sleuths who’ll be taking advantage of the new clues.

The map shows the 3-D arrangement of proteins in the molecular “spike” that the virus known as COVID-19 uses to force its way into the cells that it infects. Once the virus gains entry, it delivers genetic code that takes control of the cells to spread the infection.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

About Alan Boyle

Aerospace and science editor for GeekWire, creator of Cosmic Log, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.
This entry was posted in GeekWire and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.