The world is under lockdown, people are dying, and we are running out of food and other resources. This is all because one small virus is causing a global emergency. The pandemic is now in a position that no one could have ever imagined. While we all know it emerged in the seafood market of Wuhan, scientists from all over the world are still in the race to find its exact origin. A recent study reveals that could be more astonishing facts about its origin.
The study speculates that the virus could have existed within us even before the pandemic began. It suggests that the virus might have circulated harmlessly before undergoing new adaptations. Such adaptations would have enabled the virus to rapidly spread around the globe causing the disease. These adaptations are a result of a change in the genomic features of the virus. Therefore, a progenitor form of SARS-CoV-2 is the enigma which we need to crack to understand the origin.
After analyzing the virus
The scientists did genomic sequencing of the virus along with other similar coronaviruses. The results of the analysis reveal that the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of SARS-CoV-2 has a high affinity towards human cells. This might be due to the pressure that occurred during the natural selection. This also rules out the myth that the virus was a laboratory manipulated one. Therefore, scientists speculate two theories on this – either the virus had undergone natural selection in animals like bats, pangolins, etc, (as they share similarities with the virus), or natural selection could have occurred in humans after transmission. The transmitted virus could have been in a harmless state. But to the evolution that occurred over the years, the virus could have gained the potential to the stage where it is now.
As of now, we cannot decide which is correct without any evidence currently supporting it. Therefore, we should wait until scientists crack the mystery behind this.
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