Coronavirus-related Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV) in 2002/2003, Middle-East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) in 2012/2013, and especially the current 2019/2021 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-2 (SARS-CoV-2) affected negatively the national health systems’ endurance worldwide. SARS-Cov-2 virus belongs to lineage b of beta-CoVs demonstrating a strong phylogenetic similarity with BatCoVRaTG13 type. Spike (S) glycoprotein projections -consisting of two subunits S1/S2- provide a unique crown-like formation (corona) on virion’s surface. Concerning their functional role, S1 represents the main receptor-binding domain (RBD), whereas S2 is involved in the virus-cell membrane fusion mechanism. On Nov 26th 2021, WHO designated the new SARS-CoV-2 strain – named Omicron, from letter ‘’όμικρον’’ in the Greek alphabet – as a variant of concern (B.1.1529 variant). Potentially this new variant is associated with high transmissibility leading to elevated infectivity and probably increased re-infection rates. Its impact on morbidity/mortality remains under investigation. In the current paper, analyzing and comparing the alterations of SARS-CoV-2 S RNA sequences in the defined variants (Alpha to Omicron), we observed some interesting findings regarding the S1-RBD/S2 mutation/deletion equilibrium that maybe affect and modify its activity.
Available online 4 January 2022, 146134