Scientists around the world are competing to study a new strain of coronavirus, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Currently, there seem to be eight strains of SARS-CoV-2 circulating on the earth. The good news is, according to infectious disease doctors and clinical microbiologists Charles Chiu“Because viruses mutate slowly, virus strains are basically very similar to each other.”
Researchers use advanced technology to quickly sequence virus from test samples, showing that there is very little difference between different strains and that nothing increases the virulence of the virus . In addition, scientists say that no strain can be more dangerous if the mutation changes continue.
Scientists studying viruses share knowledge for editing gene sequence maps NextStrain.org, An open access website showing various stocks moving to different regions and countries. The discovery is based on more than 2,000 sequences of the viral genome that have been shared with researchers so far. Contains samples from all continents except Antarctica.
Genomic epidemiology of a novel coronavirus. Image Credit: Nextstrain
“We can perform near real-time genomic sequencing to see which strains and strains are circulating,” Chiu said, referring to viral transmission as traceable.
Why is gene tracking important?
The disease can be asymptomatic or mild and affects up to 80% of people, but if left untreated it can cause pneumonia, respiratory failure and death in up to 5% to 6% of cases. On the other hand, as the virus mutates and becomes more lethal, it becomes increasingly difficult for researchers to develop effective vaccines based on viral antigens.
For example, seasonal influenza has a vaccine, but needs to be updated annually due to the number of rapid mutations that have led to the emergence of several different strains of influenza virus. Each year, scientists need to decipher the most commonly floating of these strains and make sure that the vaccine contains them.
In contrast, viruses such as varicella and measles virus mutate slowly, so immunization shots against them provide immunity for years, perhaps for life. In this single point, SARS-CoV-2 looks more like them than the influenza virus. According to Trevor Bedford, founder of NextStrain, the study shows that the virus is mutated only once every 15 days, but the mutation is “ completely harmless, Useful as a puzzle piece to show if it’s widespread. “
Is the coronavirus mutated?
The first steps in SARS-CoV-2 genetic research were performed by China when geneticists first extracted sequences from the viral genome. According to researcher Peter Thieren, this information indicates that chickenpox is more similar to measles behavior. In addition, the early availability of viral gene sequences has aided vaccine development efforts.
He now says that he is investigating whether the viral genome has changed from the original published genome and how quickly this process is occurring. Experiments performed to date have focused on mutations and have helped them reach provisional mutation rates. In addition, the type of virus that is transmitted can be revealed by gene sequencing, which can help you understand how well lockdown measures are working to contain the spread of the virus.
If the community is widespread in the area, you know that lockdown orders are being violated on a daily basis. On the other hand, a significant reduction in transmission will reduce lockdown.
A report published online on March 27 is in the form of a gene tracking map based on this data.
Studies show that the virus first arrived in the UK from Wuhan, China, and moved to Singapore and South Korea. The next step was to spread through the passengers of the plane to London. From there, metropolitan airports were the hub where the virus spread to other Europe and the United States.
Now scientists say, “There is a strong mix of samples throughout Europe, suggesting that the virus has continued to move across borders in the last three to five weeks.” According to investigators, as lockdown measures begin to become more effective, the result will be clusters of transmission of each type or strain of virus in different countries.
In the United States, however, virus samples from the other side of the country are almost identical. For example, in Washington State the virus has been introduced twice, and possibly more. The origin is thought to be either Chinese or European. The effect appears as two separate chains of virus spread.
However, in California and several other states, the virus is likely to be spread within the community, rather than being introduced externally. Investigators say that this is because most of the West Coast cases are so similar to the Washington strain, that they are only three mutations away from the first strain of virus found.
In Latin America, the pattern is not clear because only a few samples have been taken. The new sequence already received is included in the map, but the activity of the virus may be stronger than indicated.
When it comes to Asia, researchers claim that there have been cases recently in Iran.
In Africa, genetic tracking suggests that the virus has been transmitted locally for more than 11 days in Kinshasa, a metropolis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Again, the sample size is small and images with little COVID-19 activity can be misleading.
Studies have shown that local virus spread is occurring in Oceania in New South Wales, Australia.
What does this mean?
Based on these studies, they stated that they had reached a preliminary conclusion that “this is not something that needs to be renewed annually like influenza vaccination, but is likely to be a single vaccine.” You. The first vaccine will probably be available worldwide within one year or 18 months.
Christian Anderson, who is also investigating the patterns of transmission, notes the following: Therefore, we have many pedigrees that are missing. “
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