Why Omicron Variant of SARS-CoV-2 is Less Fatal?

Chembiochem. 2022 Jul 5;23(13):e202200158. doi: 10.1002/cbic.202200158. Epub 2022 May 31.


The article published by Nie et al. addressed one of the two key questions regarding the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2, while the underpinning for the less deadly nature of the variant remains unexplained. The proteins of the Omicron variant have numerous mutations, notably several substitutions of other amino acids by lysine residues. Glycine and valine attract calcium and enhance the formation of stressful, insoluble, and stiff calcium oxalate. Lysine residues in proteins build up chloride via ionic bonds which solubilizes insoluble and rigid divalent salts. The aforementioned mutations have weakened the lethalness of the Omicron variant perhaps via a biochemical mechanism. Despite net gain in favorable mutations versus deleterious mutations, the overall valine plus glycine content is still high in the proteins of Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2, which remains a public health concern.

Keywords: calcium oxalate; lysine; omicron variant.

Publication types

  • Letter
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Glycine
  • Humans
  • Lysine
  • SARS-CoV-2* / genetics
  • Valine


  • Valine
  • Lysine
  • Glycine

Supplementary concepts

  • SARS-CoV-2 variants