Scientists find new mutation of coronavirus that mirrors a change in the 2003 SARS virus that showed the disease was weakening

Tuesday, May 5, 2020
By Paul Martin

Scientists at Arizona State University sequenced the viral genome of coronavirus from 382 patients in the state
In one of the samples, they found a significant mutation in the relatively stable virus
The genome of a viral sample taken from one patient was missing 81 out of 30,000 genetic ‘letters’
It was the same mutation seen in the SARS virus in 2003 that marked the virus’s changes toward the end of the five-month epidemic
These deletions also weaken the ability of the virus to fight the host’s immune system
It’s the first example of this mutation, but the researchers say that as sequencing expands, similar deletions could be detected elsewhere

4 May 2020

Scientists have discovered a unique mutation to coronavirus in Arizona – and it’s a pattern that they’ve seen before.

One of the 382 samples they collected from coronavirus patients in the state was missing a sizeable segment of genetic material.

In the middle and late stages of the SARS epidemic of 2003, this very same kind of deletion started cropping up in patients around the globe.

It’s not just any mutation – the change robs the closely related viruses of one of their weapons against the host’s immune response, making the infection weaker.

As that mutation became widespread, the SARS outbreak wound down. By July – five months after it emerged in Asia in February 23 – there were no new cases, and the outbreak was considered contained.

Now, the Arizona State University researchers have only found one person who had a version of the virus with this mutation – but they say if genome sequencing for coronavirus become more common, we may find far more.

The Rest…HERE

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