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Scientists have discovered a mechanism that allows the coronavirus to «hack» cells

Researchers from the University of California at San Diego have identified a new mechanism that contributes to the infection of human cells with SARS-CoV-2. This is reported by EurekAlert.

As it turned out, the S-protein of the coronavirus has glycans at the edges — molecules that function as an unlocking mechanism for the ”gate“ of the cell. According to scientists, they open the way for the coronavirus to become infected.

“We have uncovered an important secret of how the spike protein affects cells. Without these gates, the virus basically becomes incapable of infection,” said one of the researchers, biophysicist Rommie Amaro.

He also added that this discovery allows scientists to start searching for new therapeutic methods to combat the coronavirus. According to his calculations, if these glycan gates can be blocked in the closed position, the virus will not be able to infect human cells.

Earlier, a group of American scientists found a potential way for the coronavirus to enter the human brain. To do this, the specialists introduced pericytes — specialized cells that envelop blood vessels and carry the SARS-CoV2 receptor-into three-dimensional cultures of nerve cells (brain organoids) to create “organoids”, a more complex model of stem cells of the human body. As it turned out, at first the coronavirus infected the pericytes, and only then it passed to widespread damage.

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