Scientists have made an important discovery that could explain why SARS-CoV-2 is so infectious. It’s about the spike protein of the virus and its interactions with a protein on the surface of human cells called neuropilin-1. SARS-CoV-2 gets access to the human cells via a receptor called ACE2. Now, researchers have found a secondary receptor that the SARS-CoV-2 uses to infect cells – neuropilin-1. Professor Peter Cullen, Dr Yohei Yamauchi, and Dr Boris Simonetti from the University of Bristol in the UK discovered that SARS-CoV-2 effectively “tricks” the neuropilin-1 protein to penetrate and infect the human cell.
The researchers have developed a potential anti-viral treatment that could, in theory, dramatically reduce the viral infectivity of SARS-Cov-2. In fact, this will potentially be a new way for vaccine approach. This is a major breakthrough and a surprise, because before this new research, no one suspected that neuropilin-1 could be a door for SARS-CoV-2 to enter the nervous system. . PIKFyve kinase and CD147 – two proteins—have also been shown to bind Spike and facilitate viral entry.