Structural analysis of the novel variants of sars-cov-2 and forecasting in North America

Elena Quinonez, Majid Vahed, Abdolrazagh Hashemi Shahraki, Mehdi Mirsaeidi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: little is known about the forecasting of new variants of SARS-COV-2 in North America and the interaction of variants with vaccine-derived neutralizing antibodies. Methods: the affinity scores of the spike receptor-binding domain (S-RBD) of B.1.1.7, B. 1.351, B.1.617, and P.1 variants in interaction with the neutralizing antibody (CV30 isolated from a patient), and human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (hACE2) receptor were predicted using the template-based compu-tational modeling. From the Nextstrain global database, we identified prevalent mutations of S-RBD of SARS-CoV-2 from December 2019 to April 2021. Pre-and post-vaccination time series forecasting models were developed based on the prediction of neutralizing antibody affinity scores for S-RBD of the variants. Results: the proportion of the B.1.1.7 variant in North America is growing rapidly, but the rate will reduce due to high affinity (~90%) to the neutralizing antibody once herd immunity is reached. Currently, the rates of isolation of B. 1.351, B.1.617, and P.1 variants are slowly increasing in North America. Herd immunity is able to relatively control these variants due to their low affinity (~70%) to the neutralizing antibody. The S-RBD of B.1.617 has a 110% increased affinity score to the human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (hACE2) in comparison to the wild-type structure, making it highly infectious. Conclusion: The newly emerged B.1.351, B.1.617, and P.1 variants escape from vaccine-induced neutralizing immunity and continue circulating in North America in post-herd immunity era. Our study strongly suggests that a third dose of vaccine is urgently needed to cover novel variants with affinity scores (equal or less than 70%) to eliminate developing viral mutations and reduce transmission rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number930
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • COVID-19
  • Mutation
  • S-RBD
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Vaccine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology


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