How a SARS-CoV-2 variant sacrifices tight binding for antibody evasion

The highly infectious SARS-CoV-2 variant that recently emerged in South Africa, known as B.1.351, has scientists wondering how existing COVID-19 vaccines and therapies can be improved to ensure strong protection. Now, researchers reporting in ACS’ Journal of Medicinal Chemistry have used computer modeling to reveal that one of the three mutations that make variant B.1.351 different from the original SARS-CoV-2 reduces the virus’ binding to human cells––but potentially allows it to escape some antibodies.