3 min read
When the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 was first identified, we applied our molecular modeling methods to assess how this new variant would impact the ongoing pandemic. Since we published our initial findings, the ubiquitous nature of Omicron infections, coupled with the publications of several excellent studies, has compelled us to update our last entry on the subject. These new studies may help us make sense of the current situation while possibly predicting where we are headed, keeping in mind that this update is not intended to be comprehensive.
Topics: Insights Covid SARS-CoV-2 COVID-19 Omicron
7 min read
On November 24, 2021, South Africa reported the identification of a new SARS-CoV-2 variant, B.1.1.529, to the World Health Organization (WHO). On November 26, 2021, the WHO designated B.1.1.529 as a variant of concern (VOC) named Omicron. This new variant features a number of concerning spike protein mutations. As illustrated below, these key mutations, also found in earlier variants, are present at or near sites regulating virus infectivity. In addition, Omicron displays a surprising number of new mutations. Of special interest are mutations occurring in the RBD and S1/S2 domain. The RBD is important for binding to cells, and the S1/S2 is important for processing the virus to enable entry into the cells.