Academic journals for high school students

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Prediction of Virus Mutant Based on Biological, Mathematical Analysis

Yugyung Oh
Korean Minjok Leadership Academy


As the physical distance between viral hosts shrunk, the frequency of pandemics caused by novel virus mutations increased. In the case of the influenza virus, vaccinations are manufactured and distributed prior to the appearance of the mutant. Firstly, from a biological perspective, the most effective strategy to target a virus would be to target spike proteins, which function as the virus’s common weakness. Multiple mutations in spike proteins are typically responsible for the formation of new mutant viruses. A significant alteration in the form of the spike protein renders the viral cell invasion process itself impossible. This is because the structure of spike proteins is one of the most crucial factors in the process. Therefore, the spike protein of the virus varies only subtly, and by comparing the form of the spike proteins and cell receptors, we may predict the shape of the next mutant. Consequently, unlike other qualities that necessitate individual analysis, targeting spike proteins is remarkably efficient. Second, from a mathematical perspective, the capsid of the virus will have the structure of a truncated polyhedron with T=7. As viruses construct their capsids with a restricted number of genes, they use repeated units to form a regular polyhedron as their basic structure. In addition, since the solid figure that occupies the greatest volume with the smallest surface area is a sphere, the viral capsid will have a shape that is most similar to the sphere. To get closer to the sphere, the figure is truncated, and the triangulation number determines this fine structure. When T=7, evolutionarily speaking, the structure closest to the sphere in terms of stability and efficiency would be favored. The amino acid sequences of spike proteins and virus capsids dictate their respective shapes. ProteinBERT, a deep learning language specific to proteins, demonstrated the modeling of virus protein mutation in the spike proteins and virus capsids, as anticipated by the two perspectives on the virus prediction. However, there were also other variances that were not the result of natural mutations. Hence, a viral prediction would be far more accurate if these additional factors were included in the research. However, it is essential to predict the shape of the virus surface protein, which is the most crucial element in the virus-cell invasion. If it is possible to determine the genetic change of the spike protein by considering the shape of the cell receptor and the structure of the virus’s capsid as it reaches a tetrahedron, an appropriate vaccine could be developed.

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