Sunday, July 5, 2020

New studies tell us the pathway of the coronavirus from animals to humans

The pandemic has caused enough damage to mankind on its course. With scientists warning about a possible second wave, we do not have sufficient weapons to fight off the disease. Vaccinations and medications are still not found to give us a reliable fight. We should also see that the origin of the virus is also important enough to figure out the tools needed to fight. A new study from researchers of Duke University, Los Alamos National Laboratory, the University of Texas at El Paso, and New York University shows us that the origin of the virus is from bats. But there’s more to it. The study found that the virus gained the ability to infect humans is via an intermediate mammal called Pangolin. This route of the ability to infect humans has achieved by changing a fragment of genes. By doing so, the virus has possibly achieved the ability to infect human cells.

The study

Scientists say that the coronaviruses in the pangolins are much different from the current SARS-CoV-2. However, the similarity comes in Receprote Binding Domain (RBD), which is a part of the spike protein that helps in entering into human cells. Even though a bat coronavirus which is thought to be the progenitor of the current virus, which has a high similarity, their RBD doesn’t match SARS-CoV-2. Therefore, researchers speculate that the virus can be a hybrid product of both bat and pangolin coronaviruses. Scientists say there are high similarities of genetic sequences between humans, bats, and pangolins, which enabled them to jump between these hosts. However, proven researchers say that the scientific community still has divided opinion on the pangolins’ role in this shift. Further studies will help us untie more knots in this puzzle.

Read Also: WHO warns about a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic

We should also see here that it is not the first time that animal viruses are playing a major role in the disease. Previous outbreaks of SARS and MERS had Civets and camels, respectively, along with bats has their progenitor hosts before jumping to humans, as of now, tracing the viruses’ evolution will definitely help us with future waves to tackle and other future pandemics. Moreover, it may also help us in combatting the disease by helping us to discover medications and vaccinations.

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Source: ScienceDaily

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