UK SAGE: Lab studies suggest that the N501Y spike protein mutation increases binding to rat and mouse ACE2 leading to viral replication

Animals, B.1.1.7, B.1.351, Coronavirus, England, Health, Infection, London, N501Y, Northern Ireland, P.1, Reservoir, Science, Scotland, Testing, Transmission, UK, Wales

A report issued by the UK government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) found the likelihood that a variant of concern (VOC) that has arisen in humans could infect a rodent and then spread among the animals is high. Researchers say lab evidence indicates that while rats and mice appear unable to contract the most common forms of coronavirus COVID-19, the N501Y spike protein mutation “has an increased affinity” for rodents.

The report said: “There is a plausible pathway for infection of rodents with new variants of concern from infected humans following contamination of an environment. “Experimental evidence has shown SARS-CoV-2 with N501Y has increased affinity for lab rodents and there is nothing to suggest the same would not be true for wild rodents.

SAGE: Coronavirus (COVID-19) response, 8 April 2021



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** This post was originally published on April 24, 2021 **