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  • - [Narrator] Coronaviruses invade cells

  • through so-called spike proteins.

  • The spike protein is the major surface protein

  • that binds to a receptor,

  • which acts like a doorway into a human cell.

  • Once the spike protein

  • and the surface of the human cell membrane fuse together,

  • the genome of the virus is able to enter the human cell

  • and begin infection.

  • Understanding the shape of the spike protein in COVID-19

  • is the key to figuring out how to target the virus

  • and accelerate potential vaccines.

  • Jason McLellan and his team at University of Texas at Austin

  • in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health

  • are credited with this important step,

  • which may help in the development of a vaccine

  • against the coronavirus.

  • (light music)

- [Narrator] Coronaviruses invade cells

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