The Covid-19 virus has a secret weapon hidden in its spicules: a small piece of protein that allows it to attach to a second very common receptor on the surface of cells, in addition to the ACE2 already identified. This allows it to be much more infectious and virulent than its cousin, which appeared in 2003. Two independent teams of researchers, one German-Finnish and the other British, published this discovery in the journal Friday. Science. «This is important because it could partly explain why the Covid-19 virus, called SARS-CoV-2, infects human cells so effectively and therefore why this epidemic has already claimed more than 1.2 million lives worldwide. while that of a nearby coronavirus, SARS-CoV, made less than a thousand in 2003», Underlines Étienne Decroly, virologist from the University of Aix-Marseille who did not participate in this new work.
The team of the Marseille researcher had previously identified in the S surface protein of