RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - The new variant is capable of invading cells without the ACE2 receptors that are currently the virus' gateway; the finding is surprising and may change the course of the pandemic, but vaccines and antibodies remain effective.
The virus' new ability was accidentally discovered by scientists at the University of Washington, who were testing the effect of Sars-CoV-2 on 10 cell types from the lungs, tongue, pharynx, and esophagus.
The virus failed to infect them, with one exception: the H522 lung cells. This surprised researchers, as these cells have no ACE2 receptors (from the "angiotensin . . .