Scientists investigating the evolution of the virus that causes Covid19 say that its mutation seems to be directed by human proteins that degrade it, but natural selection of the virus enables it to bounce back. The findings could help in the design of vaccines against the virus.
All organisms mutate. You were for example born with between 10 and 100 new mutations in your DNA. Mutation is usually a random process often owing to mistakes made when DNA is copied. Recent work from researchers at the Universities of Bath and Edinburgh, suggests that in the case of SARS-CoV-2, mutation may well not be a random process and that instead humans are mutating it, as part of a defence mechanism to degrade the virus.
The team looked at over 15,000 virus genomes from all of the sequencing efforts around the world and identified over 6000 mutations. They looked at how much each of the four letters that make up the virus’ genetic code (A, C, U and G) were mutating and discovered that the virus had a very high rate of mutations generating U residues.
Senior author Professor Laurence Hurst, Director of the Milner Centre for Evolution at the University of Bath, said: “I have looked at mutational profiles for many organisms and they all show some sort of bias, but I’ve never seen one as strong and strange as this.”
In particular they found that mutation very commonly generated UU neighbouring pairs, mutating from the original sequence of CU and UC. They noted this is a fingerprint of the mutational profile of a human protein, called APOBEC, that can mutate viruses. Professor Hurst commented: “It looks like mutation isn’t random, but instead we are attacking the virus by mutating it.”
Image Credit: Amanda Scott/Envato
Thanks to Heinz V. Hoenen. Follow him on twitter: @HeinzVHoenen
News This Week
A group of researchers proposed an optimized electroforming strategy to achieve a bioinspired nano-holed TiO2 coated Ti6Al4V alloy, according to a study published in the journal ACS Applied Material Interfaces. Near-infrared (NIR) energy plays a critical part [...]
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 2.8 million Americans experience antibiotic-resistant infections each year; more than 35,000 die from those infections. To address this critical and worldwide public health [...]
Scientists at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Northwestern Medicine have identified natural extracellular vesicles containing the ACE2 protein (evACE2) in the blood of COVID-19 patients that can block infection from [...]
Scientists at Northwestern Medicine and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center have identified natural nano-bubbles containing the ACE2 protein (evACE2) in the blood of COVID-19 patients and discovered these nano-sized particles can [...]
Pioneering Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology, developed by experts at University of the West of Scotland (UWS), is capable of accurately diagnosing Covid-19 in just a few minutes. The groundbreaking program is able to detect [...]
Antimicrobial resistance poses a significant threat to humanity, health leaders have warned, as a study reveals it has become a leading cause of death worldwide and is killing about 3,500 people every day. More [...]
The Necessity of Novel Antiviral Materials With the severe acute respiratory coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) being highly infectious and transmissible, the need for novel antiviral materials that can decrease viral activities has become paramount. Preparation procedures [...]
Individuals living with Type 1 diabetes must carefully follow prescribed insulin regimens every day, receiving injections of the hormone via syringe, insulin pump or some other device. And without viable long-term treatments, this course [...]
Researchers from the University of Sydney Nano Institute and School of Chemistry have revealed that tiny gas bubbles – nanobubbles just 100 billionths of a metre high – form on surfaces in unexpected situations, [...]
Innovative researchers have investigated the potential of incorporating a gelatin methacryloyl hydrogel functionalized with synthetic nanoclay laponite to improve the delivery of osteoblast derived extracellular vesicles for increased bone repair. This research has been [...]
A couple of essential biomolecules play a key role in the process of blood clotting. One of these is a protein called fibrinogen. It is often given to those who have experienced heavy bleeding, [...]
Nanoemulsions are a relatively new technology that has found significant use for delivering functional chemicals such as micronutrients, flavorings, bioactive molecules, and antimicrobial agents into food and beverage products. This article focuses on applying [...]
Researchers at Penn Medicine have discovered a new, more effective method of preventing the body's own proteins from treating nanomedicines like foreign invaders, by covering the nanoparticles with a coating to suppress the immune [...]
Bioinspired by tunicates and mussels, a Korean research team has created a “bomb-like” anticancer therapeutic agent that only destroys cancer cells. Schematic diagram of the mechanism of action of photoactivatable adhesive nanobombs made with [...]
(Reuters) - “Long COVID”, where symptoms of COVID-19 persist for months after an initial infection, could be emerging as a chronic disease in Finland, Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services Krista Kiuru said [...]