Covid-19: the virus won thanks to our sugar and our fat – Science et Avenir

This is the success of the greedy virus. Like any virus, the coronavirus responsible for Covid-19 is not autonomous: it must use host cell tools to reproduce. This is how, thanks to the resources of its host, the coronavirus manages to attack it. In particular, sugar and fat would allow Sars-CoV-2 to pass to humans and infect them just as effectively.

The doorknob of human cells would be sugar

Bats contain large numbers of coronaviruses that do not normally infect humans. But like its predecessor Sars-Cov (responsible for Sras), Sars-CoV-2 still managed to make the leap to us. This passage would be possible thanks to sugar, according to a study published June 23 in the journal Science.

Researchers from the University of Oxford (UK) and the Rosalind Franklin Institute in Oxford have demonstrated that the original strain of this coronavirus had the ability to cling to a sugar present on the surface of human cells: sialic acid. This sugar plays a central role in cell-to-cell communication, but it can also facilitate infection by some pathogens. This is, for example, the case of the influenza virus, which clings to this sugar with its hemagglutinin protein and then cuts it with its neuraminidase (H and N, which are used to denote variants of this virus, such as H1N1, endemic in humans). Other coronaviruses are known to use this strategy to better attach to cells, such as the Mers coronavirus.

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