Indian-origin researcher makes world’s first molecular-level structural analysis on Omicron protein

One of the researchers from the University of British Columbia (UBC) has created the world’s first molecular-level structural analysis of the Omicron variant spike protein. The researcher, Dr. Sriram Subramaniam, is an Indian-origin scientist and the lead author of the study, The Quint reported.

Dr. Sriram including the other researchers believes that the latest analysis could help improve the development of more effective treatments against the Covid-19 variant. 

After the analysis, Dr. Sriram said, “with the analysis in the developments by which the virus infects human cells, we can develop better treatments that resist the process and neutralize the virus.” The spike protein, which is located on the outside of a coronavirus, enables SARS-CoV-2 to enter human cells.

As it was found in the study, that the variant Omicron 36 mutations on its spike protein, it is necessary to find the molecular structure. The findings, published in the journal Science, show an explanation of why Omicron are highly contagious. 

“Vaccination remains our best defence against Omicron strain”, Dr. Sriram said. He added that string antibody elimination and binding to human cells could increase transmission efficiency. 

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Unlike other variants, Omicron showed measurable evasion from all six monoclonal antibodies tested, with a complete escape from five. This variant also exhibited increased clearance of antibodies collected from vaccinated individuals and from non-vaccinated Covid-19 patients.

“Our study used cryo-electron microscopy and other tests to understand how mutations impact the behavior of the Omicron variant at a molecular level”, Subramaniam said.