SARS-CoV-2 Structural Analysis of Receptor Binding Domain New Variants from United Kingdom and South Africa

Abstract

SARS-CoV-2 has caused more than 80 million infections and close to 2 million deaths worldwide as of January 2021. This pandemic has caused an incredible damage to humanity being it medically and/or financially halting life as we know it. If it were not enough, the current virus is changing to a more deadly form because of the mutations that are arising on its genome. Importantly, two variants have emerged in recent months, one in United Kingdom and the other in South Africa that are more infectious and escape antibody binding. These two variants have mutations in the receptor binding domain of the spike glycoprotein namely N501Y (UK, SA), K417N (SA) and E484K (SA). Here, I present a structural analysis of spike glycoprotein bound to ACE2 (angiotensin converting enzyme 2) where the mutations have been introduced in silico showing the reason why these variants bind better to ACE2 receptors.

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