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Researchers develop the first 3D map of novel coronavirus, leading way to vaccine

Researchers from the University of Texas have developed the first 3D atomic-scale map of the part of the virus, called the spike protein, that attaches to and infects human cells. This will lead to developing a vaccine for the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Spike protein: Mapping the spike protein is an essential step that can lead to developing vaccines and antiviral drugs to combat the virus. The scientists are working on a related viable vaccine candidate stemming from the research. The research revealed that coronaviruses invade cells through spike proteins. These proteins take on different shapes in different coronaviruses.  Figuring out the shape of the spike protein is the key to figuring out how to target the virus. The coronavirus uses many different proteins to invade cells. But Spike protein is the major surface protein that it uses to bind to a receptor. Once the surface protein binds with the human cell receptor, it fuses with the human cell membrane. It will allow the genome of the virus to enter human cells and begin infection. By preventing fusion, the entry of the virus into the human body can be prevented.

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