The first case of coronavirus infection was detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December last year. From the very moment of the outbreak, the virus didn't seem to undergo major changes in its genome. However, the results of a study published in the National Science Review journal indicate that CoVID-2019 still mutate, which revealed two options at once: S-cov and the more dangerous L-cov, which is characterized by a higher transmissibility and causes a greater harm to the human respiratory system.
Are CoVID-2019 mutations dangerous?
Today there are at least 300 viruses that cause colds and flu. Viruses can mutate and adapt to the environment and new hosts. For this reason, many researchers expressed their concern about a possible mutation of 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 were divided into S-cov and L-cov based on 149 mutation spots.
According to the authors of the research, the genome of the S-cov is relatively older than L-cov and 30% closer to the coronavirus associated with bats. 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.
Will coronavirus mutate in the future?
The greatest concern of specialists is the 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. Usually, a person can be infected with only one subtype of coronavirus, however, it is 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 the virus spreads around the world, more mutations can occur.
Recall that at the moment, the natural host of the virus is not defined. Experts of the WHO 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. The fact that the mutation was insignificant 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.
We remind you that in order to prevent coronavirus infection, you need to wash your hands with soap and water and treat them with an alcohol-containing solution.