Home Science Coronavirus breakthrough as ‘Achilles heel’ may lead to vaccine

Coronavirus breakthrough as ‘Achilles heel’ may lead to vaccine

A new study compared samples between SARS and coronavirus attacking antibodies. The research may pave the way towards a possible vaccine.

Scientists examined an antibody from a SARS patient and tracked how it latched on to a specific area of the SARS virus.

The team then observed how the SARS antibody gripped on to the same spot on the coronavirus sample

The scientists observed this at a “near-atomic-scale resolution”.

The antibody that latched on in the coronavirus sample wasn’t identical to the SARS sample, but it did help identify a spot of weakness.

SCIENTISTS have discovered a coronavirus “Achilles heel” which help them to target the virus. (Image: Getty Images)

The study was lead by Dr Ian Wilson, who told the San Diego Tribune of the potential breakthrough.

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He said: “The knowledge of conserved sites like this can aid in structure-based design of vaccines and therapeutics against SARS-CoV-2.

“These would also protect against other coronaviruses—including those that may emerge in the future.”

The discovery was published on Friday in the journal called Science.

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The research suggests that COVID-19 may be susceptible to certain drugs and is crucial in tracking it’s spread.

Co-author Meng Yuan has said however that the vulnerable area is difficult to find.

Yuan said: “We found that this region is usually hidden inside the virus, and only exposed when that part of the virus changes its structure, as it would in natural infection.”

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The virus is also highly susceptible to mutation, leading to a sense of urgency in further testing.

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The researchers are looking for former coronavirus patients to donate blood.

Other studies have suggested that the blood of recovered patients can help treat other sever cases of the virus.

There’s also been suggestions that different blood types may be at differing risk from coronavirus.

Researchers have stressed that these studies require further testing before applied generally.

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The researchers believe that this breakthrough may also lead to future vaccines against newer strains of the virus, should they appear.

The article reads: “As this coronavirus outbreak continues to pose an enormous global risk, the availability of conserved epitopes may allow structure-based design not only of a SARS-CoV-2 (The virus that causes COVID-19) vaccine, but also for cross-protective antibody responses against future coronavirus epidemics and pandemics.

“While a more universal coronavirus vaccine is not the most urgent goal at present, it is certainly worthwhile for future consideration especially as cross-protective epitopes are identified so that we can be better prepared for the next novel coronavirus outbreak.”

Worldwide cases of coronavirus are currently at 1,272,737, with 69,418.

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