The first case of a new coronavirus infection wasidentified in the Chinese city of Wuhan last December. From the very moment of the outbreak, the virus did not seem to undergo major changes in its genome. As of March 4, CoVID-2019 was detected in 10 thousand people outside of China and continues its “journey” through the Earth. However, the results of a study published in the National Science Review journal indicate that CoVID-2019 still mutated, as a result of which the researchers identified two options at once: S-cov and the more dangerous L-cov, which is characterized by a higher transmissibility and causes greater harm to the human respiratory system.
Are CoVID-2019 mutations dangerous?
Viruses have the ability to adapt toenvironment and new owners. This process is called mutation. Today, there are at least 300 viruses causing colds and flu alone. For this reason, many researchers have expressed concern about the possible mutation of a new coronavirus infection. So, during the work, scientists from the School of Biological Sciences of Peking University and the Pasteur Institute of the Shanghai Academy of Sciences analyzed the genomic molecular evolution of 103 new samples of coronavirus. As a result, specialists found 101 samples of CoVID-2019, which can be divided into S-cov and L-cov based on 149 mutation spots on virus strains.
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As the authors of the study write, the genome of the variantS-cov is relatively older than L-cov and 30% closer to bat-related coronavirus. At the same time, L-cov was more common in the early stages of the outbreak in Wuhan, but the incidence of this strain decreased in early January. Researchers also report that most patients were infected with only one of two CoVID-2019 variants. However, the analysis of an American citizen who recently returned from China suggests that he could have been infected with two strains of the virus at once.
Will coronavirus mutate in the future?
The greatest concern of specialists isthe possibility of further mutation. According to The Global Times, Yang Zhanqiu, a virologist from Wuhan, said the American patient was probably infected with a third variant of the virus, which remains to be identified. This will require analysis of a large number of samples. As a rule, a person can be infected with only one subtype of coronavirus, however, it is very likely that adaptation of the coronavirus to different environments and hosts led to a mutation immediately before infection. This means that there is more than one CoVID-2019 intermediate host and more than one place of origin. Chinese virologists believe that as long as the virus spreads around the world, more mutations can occur.
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Recall that at the moment the naturalthe host of the virus is not defined. Experts of the World Health Organization as the main source of the virus consider bats that could infect other animals, after which the infection began to be transmitted to humans. However, opinions in the academic community were divided on this subject. Moreover, it is possible that coronavirus infection has several birth sites with different transmission routes. However, given the fact that the mutation was insignificant in the sequence of genes and did not change the nature of the virus, existing mutations will not affect the preventive measures taken and existing treatment methods. Nevertheless, the situation remains rather tense, since the possibility of further mutations cannot be ruled out.
Well, we remind you that in order to preventCoronavirus infection, you must wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water and treat them with an alcohol-containing solution. Read about what to do in order not to get sick in our special material.