First major mutation found in the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus genome

US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — Singaporean biologists have discovered the first major change in the genome of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. A study of biologists and physicians from the National University of Singapore published in an article for e bioRxiv scientific library.

Compared to the first samples of the new coronavirus, a 382-letter-long nucleotide fragment disappeared from its genome next to ORF8, a special site in the coronavirus RNA that is responsible for starting the process of assembling protein N, one of the key components of SARS-CoV-2.

It is this fragment of coronavirus that is associated with the copying of its RNA and the formation of new viral particles.

Scientists believe that the coronavirus mutation occurred in February 2020. A change in the genome made it less active in the first phases of infection and, accordingly, less noticeable for human immunity.

Such a change allowed the coronavirus to increase the speed of spread even in the conditions of struggle with it. In addition, a gene mutation has led to the fact that the symptoms of a new type of coronavirus infection appear up to 14 days after infection.

At the same time, scientists previously believed that SARS-CoV-2 is stable and cannot mutate in response to external factors.

Biologists and physicians from Singapore National University have come to a new conclusion by studying coronavirus samples from the secretions that were collected from all patients in Singapore clinics.


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