Shima Tavakol*, Hani Tavakol, Mo S. Alavijeh and Alexander Seifalian* Pages 2953 - 2964 ( 12 )
In 2019, the whole world came together to confront a life-threatening virus named SARS-CoV-2, causing COVID-19 illness. The virus infected the human host by attaching to the ACE2 and CD147 receptors in some human cells, resulting in cytokine storm and death. The new variants of the virus that caused concern are Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and Epsilon, according to the WHO label. However, Pango lineages designated them as B.1.1.7, B.1.351, P.1, B.1.617.2, and B.1.429. Variants may be progressively formed in one chronic COVID-19 patient and transmitted to others. They show some differences in cellular and molecular mechanisms. Mutations in the receptor-binding domain (RBD) and N-terminal domain (NTD) lead to alterations in the host's physiological responses. They show significantly higher transmissibility rates and viral load while evading neutralizing antibodies at different rates. These effects are through mutations, deletion, and conformational alterations in the virus, resulting in the enhanced affinity of RBD to PD of ACE2 protein, virus entry, and spike conformational change. In the clinical laboratory, new variants may diagnose from other variants using specific primers for RBD or NTD. There are some controversial findings regarding the efficacy of the developed vaccines against the new variants. This research aimed to discuss the cellular and molecular mechanisms beyond COVID-19 pathogenesis, focusing on the new variants. We glanced at why the mutations and the ability to transmit the virus increase and how likely the available vaccines will be effective against these variants.
SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19, vaccine, variant of concern, mutations, transmissibility rate.