As the coronavirus continues to evolve, the focus of scientific and public health has been on new variants, with some mutations making the virus more contagious, or even more deadly.
These changes to the virus are all what scientists call point mutations, the replacement of genetic codes from one small to another. Coronaviruses, as a group, are not known to mutate rapidly, but the epidemic caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2 means that millions and billions of people are infected with billions of viral particles and infections, Who offer opportunities for change.
However, there is another important way that coronaviruses change. Individual viral particles exchange large chunks of genetic material, with another virus. If two different types of coronaviruses live in the same cell, the result may not be a new form, but a new species.
Three University of Liverpool researchers writing The magazine Nature Communications predicted, Based on a computer analysis, that such events are more likely than previously thought, and monitoring of target species is recommended to watch for the possible emergence of new coronovirus diseases.
The work pointed in some directions where scientists are already vigilant. They identified fewer Asian yellow bats and more and intermediate horseshoe bats as animals where recombination would be more likely. But his analysis also pointed to the animals as less focused on scientists, such as the normal pig, as a creature that should be monitored.
Marcus SC Blagrov, a variologist who wrote the report with Marcus Wardeh, who specializes in computer analysis of animal disease, and Matthew Bialis, a veterinarian epidemiologist, said coronaviruses were called “large amounts of swapping all over the place”. Was known for
The emergence of new diseases through this process is not common because an animal needs to be infected with two different types of coronaviruses at the same time.
University of Massachusetts virologist Jeremy Luban said that such a double infection with replication of two types of viruses in a cell has not yet been documented in humans. But just such a recombination is how SARS seems to emerge, and researchers think SARS-CoV-2 may also be the result of a combination of the two viruses.
Dr. Luban said he thought “this kind of work is extremely important” because it could come with surprising insights that experiments and field work could follow.
A group of researchers from Liverpool used a kind of computer analysis called machine learning to look at a number of data points, including the genetic structure of coronavirus and mammalian species, as well as their behavioral similarity and geographic proximity. Come with predictions. The animals were most likely to disturb the highest number of coronaviruses.
They estimate that up to 40 times more mammal species may be infected with four or more different types of coronaviruses, which are now known and may be susceptible to infection of 126 species of mammals by SARS-COV-2.
As a reality check, they reported that their analysis correctly predicted some known associations of animals and viruses. The modeling exposed palm civets, the animal from which SARS was handed over to humans as a potential hot spot for the development of coronovirus.
Over all, he warned that the possibility of recombination is very low as a result of the emergence of some new dangerous coronaviruses.