Research shows Omicron has 37 mutations on spike protein

mutations spike protein, spike protein
© Acfrank84

Omicron appears to have 37 mutations on the spike protein, which is three to five times more than other variants

In the first ever molecular-level structural analysis, The University of British Columbia (UBC) found that the Omicron variant has 37 spike protein mutations – which is really unusual.

The findings were published in Science.

“We can develop better treatments”

“Understanding the molecular structure of the viral spike protein is important as it will allow us to develop more effective treatments against Omicron and related variants in the future,” said lead author Dr Sriram Subramaniam, professor in UBC’s department of biochemistry and molecular biology.

“By analyzing the mechanisms by which the virus infects human cells, we can develop better treatments that disrupt that process and neutralize the virus.”

The infamous spike protein is how COVID enters the cells of the human body.

The structural analysis revealed that several mutations (R493, S496 and R498) create new salt bridge and hydrogen bonds between the spike protein and the human cell receptor known as ACE2.

The researchers concluded that these new bonds appear to increase binding affinity—how strongly the virus attaches to human cells—while other mutations (K417N) decrease the strength of this bond.

mutations spike protein, spike protein
Atomic structure of the Omicron variant spike protein (purple) bound with the human ACE2 receptor (blue). © UBC Faculty of Medicine

How does Omicron work against vaccines?

The researchers looked at the Omicron spike protein, revealing that there was increased antibody evasion.

This has been discovered in real-term research generally, as different vaccine-makers reveal that Omicron has a higher level of escape from the antibodies created. For instance, Pfizer and BioNTech researchers said that their vaccine needed a third dose to act as powerfully as two doses should.

What about infection-generated antibodies?

When it came to antibodies generated by infection, the Omicron variant also displayed increased evasion of antibodies collected from vaccinated individuals and unvaccinated COVID-19 patients.

In a separate study, scientists found that prior infection only generated 19% protection against Omicron. 

“Overall, the findings show that Omicron has greater binding affinity than the original virus, with levels more comparable to what we see with the Delta variant,” said Dr Subramaniam.

“It is remarkable that the Omicron variant evolved to retain its ability to bind with human cells despite such extensive mutations.”

Read the full study here. 


  1. Just helped me understand some things about the different mutated viruses but goes against the standard believe that as viruses mutate they become weaker. This has been true for as long as I’ve been alive, 67 years. Now everything is different. Aren’t the elite now and as much danger of Contracting these bike proteins and ruining their DNA as we are? There are going to be a lot of questions. So, in a nutshell, they created a virus that will change your genome and the treatment will change your genome. And to top it off I need to know if you are shed on if that will change your genome. I go to years fighting off getting the Jab and it seems It’s going to be to no avail. So why do they have to hunt us down to jab us if being shed on or getting the virus does the same thing?


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