Popularization of research advances on COVID-19

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A global study of the infected cell

In order to fight the COVID-19 pandemic successfully, we need to better understand the interaction between SARS-CoV-2 and the host cell. This requires us to know how each viral protein functions, but also how they interact with cellular proteins. “Omics” studies is a systematic approach allowing understanding of the functioning of life in general, and […]


How the virus transforms itself to escape antibodies?

The spike (S) protein of SARS-CoV-2 is the principal target of vaccines but also of antibody treatments. It is organized in trimers (the association of 3 identical proteins) on the surface of the virus and is made up of the S1 domain, containing the RBD (Receptor Binding Domain) which interacts with the ACE2 cellular receptor, […]


Spike deletions could reinforce the virus

The SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) surface protein plays an important role in the entry of the viral particle into cells. It is therefore the primary target of neutralizing antibodies. The enzyme that replicates the SARS-CoV-2 genome, as with other viruses, commits errors – mutations – which evolve under different selection pressures including that of the immune […]


Bats: an ideal reservoir for the virus

Many viruses that emerge have their origins in Chiropterans, better known as bats. This is the case with the Hendra, Nipah, Marburg, rabies, Ebola, MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 viruses. These zoonoses (meaning transmission from animals to humans) are made possible by the particular characteristics of bats, which provide an ideal reservoir for viruses. While the […]


Which cellular proteins interact with the viral genome?

The process of cell infection by a virus is complex and involves several stages usually specific to the virus. A virus attaches itself to the host-cell and penetrates the cytoplasm using a cellular receptor, ACE2 in the case of SARS-CoV-2. Once its genetic material is inside the cell (RNA for SARS-CoV-2), it hijacks and mobilizes […]


Better analysis of ever more abundant sequencing

The appearance and rapid spread of SARS-CoV-2 variants may have adverse effects on the effectiveness of current vaccines. It is therefore crucial to identify new variants quickly, and to sequence them, that is, to read the succession of letters that make up their genome. Today 610 000 SARS-CoV-2  genomes have been sequenced across the world. Amongst […]


The soluble form of the ACE2 receptor may increase the risk of infection

SARS-CoV-2 principally causes respiratory problems of different levels of seriousness, but other symptoms involving cardiac or renal problems have already been observed. In order for successful infection to take place, the virus uses certain cell components that are still little known due to the lack of suitable models. Up to the current time, research has […]


Mapping Spike

Researchers have recently identified the areas on the spike protein that antibodies can fix themselves to. A judicious choice of antibodies should allow them to be used in prevention or treatment. It must be remembered that the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein is of central interest for the development of vaccines and antibody therapies. In order for […]


A virus that is incapable of self-replicating: a new in vitro study model

In order to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, it is necessary to understand how the virus operates and the kind of immune reaction it triggers. To do so, the virus’ cycle needs to be studied by infecting model cells in vitro. Since SARS-CoV-2 is highly transmissible, it has to be studied in type 3 laboratories where […]


How the spike divides itself to strengthen the virus

SARS-CoV-2 can lead to serious respiratory illness and death, but its ability to spread asymptomatically sets it apart from SARS-CoV-1 and MERS-CoV. In the latter, when these viruses enter the target cell, the spike protein interacts with the ACE2 cellular receptor. But the SARS-CoV-2 spike is more refined in its approach to ACE2 than that […]

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