The first picture of Corona’s variant B.1.1.7 (UK variant) has been revealed in many countries including the UK, India and Canada, which are believed to be responsible for the pace of infection. Canadian researchers first published this version of the corona found in the UK. This can help to find out why it is so contagious compared to the first strain.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there were more mutations in B.1.1.7 variants, which first appeared in the UK in mid-December last year. In a statement released by the University of British Columbia (UBC), a picture taken from the atomic resolution will reveal many important information about this variant. This showed why this variant is so contagious.
The research team led by Dr. Sriram Subramaniam, Professor of the UBC Faculty of Medicine Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, found a mutation on the spike protein of the corona virus called N501Y, through which the virus attaches to a human cell.
Sriram said, “The picture we have captured is the first glimpse of the N501Y mutation, and shows the change from the mutation.” In fact the N501Y is the only mutation of the B.1.1.7 variant of the corona that is located on the spike protein. It attaches to the human ACE2 receptor, an enzyme on the surface of our cells, and becomes a gateway to the virus.
The corona virus is a million times smaller than the tip of the pin and cannot be seen with a common microscope. The research team used a cryo-electron microscope called a cryo-EM to see the shape and protein of the virus and can grow up to 12 feet high. Electrons beams were used in imaging technology.
Dr. Sriram told Hindustan Times that his team is also trying to take photographs of other variants. He said that it is also important to look at the structure of these new variants because it will know whether the current treatment and vaccine will be effective on them. This will show the way to control infection.