Specialists from the University of Manchester examined 20 patients with dermatomyositis, a severe autoimmune disease that affects connective and muscle tissue. It is known that the occurrence of this ailment involved viral and bacterial infections.
British scientists have focused on unique antibodies that are found specifically in those who have been diagnosed with dermatomyositis.
It turned out that the antibodies found in them are aimed at ten epitopes (specific protein sites) in three species of bat coronaviruses. Specialists compared the amino acid sequences in the epitopes with the sequences of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and identified three similar epitopes, up to the coincidence of the sequence in the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase responsible for the multiplication of the virus.
As established by British experts, these epitopes may be targets for an effective vaccine against SARS-CoV-2. In addition, scientists have suggested that infection with coronaviruses can trigger the development of an autoimmune disease. That is, the SARS-CoV-2 virus has weak points that act as targets for antibodies and are able to activate the immune response.