Prelims 2021

Q. The term ‘ACE2’ is talked about in the context of

a) genes introduced in the genetically modified plants
b) development of India’s own satellite navigation system
c) radio collars for wildlife tracking
d) spread of viral diseases

Correct Answer: d) spread of viral diseases

Question from UPSC Prelims 2021 GS Paper

Explanation : 

ACE2 in Viral Disease Spread

ACE2 stands for Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2. It is an enzyme that is attached to the outer surface (cell membranes) of cells in various organs such as the lungs, heart, kidney, and intestines. ACE2 has gained significant attention in the context of the spread of viral diseases, particularly due to its role as a receptor for the coronavirus responsible for COVID-19, known as SARS-CoV-2.

Receptor for SARS-CoV-2 : The spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 binds to the ACE2 receptor on the surface of human cells. This binding is the first step in the viral infection process, as it allows the virus to gain entry into the cell. Once inside, the virus can replicate and spread to other cells, leading to the development of COVID-19.

Viral Entry Point: Because ACE2 is expressed in various organs, it provides multiple potential entry points for the virus, which can lead to multi-organ infection and a range of symptoms associated with COVID-19.

Therapeutic Target: Understanding the interaction between ACE2 and the coronavirus spike protein has been crucial for developing therapeutic strategies, such as monoclonal antibodies that can block this interaction and prevent the virus from entering cells.

Genetic Research: Research into the variations in the ACE2 gene among different populations may provide insights into why some individuals are more susceptible to severe COVID-19 than others.

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