OREANDA-NEWS. Scientists led by the University of Southampton have discovered a weak spot in the surface of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The results of the study are published on the portal Phys.org.

They revealed that coronaviruses bind to cells with the help of spikes forming coated in glycans, small sugar molecules which, due to the content of a small amount of specific molecular information, do not allow the immune system to recognize the virus.

“By coating themselves in sugars, viruses are like a wolf in sheep’s clothing. But one of the key findings of our study is that despite how many sugars there are, this coronavirus is not as highly shielded as some other viruses,” one of the authors of the study, Professor Max Crispin, explained.

Researchers found that there are gaps in the “masking” of SARS-CoV-2. This makes the virus more vulnerable, for example, compared to HIV, in which surface proteins are protected by an impermeable carbohydrate membrane. According to experts, the detection of open areas in the surface of SARS-CoV-2  will make it visible to the immune system. “So this is a very encouraging message for vaccine development,” Crispin resumed.