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BREAKING NEWS
Source: Omicron Research  Dec 16, 2021  2 years, 4 months, 1 day, 16 hours, 54 minutes ago

BREAKING! China’s Scientists Say Omicron Most Probably Originated From A Mouse And Not From A Human Host!

BREAKING! China’s Scientists Say Omicron Most Probably Originated From A Mouse And Not From A Human Host!
Source: Omicron Research  Dec 16, 2021  2 years, 4 months, 1 day, 16 hours, 54 minutes ago
Omicron Research: Chinese researchers from the State Key Laboratory of Plant Genomics, Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology-Chinese Academy of Sciences-Beijing and the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing have in new published study claim that the Omicron variant most probably originated form a mouse and not from a human host!

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The study team from China states that the rapid accumulation of mutations in the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant that enabled its outbreak raises questions as to whether its proximal origin occurred in humans or another mammalian host.
 
The study team identified 45 point mutations that Omicron acquired since divergence from the B.1.1 lineage.
 
The team found that the Omicron spike protein sequence was subjected to stronger positive selection than that of any reported SARS-CoV-2 variants known to evolve persistently in human hosts, suggesting the possibility of host-jumping. The molecular spectrum (i.e., the relative frequency of the twelve types of base substitutions) of mutations acquired by the progenitor of Omicron was significantly different from the spectrum for viruses that evolved in human patients, but was highly consistent with spectra associated with evolution in a mouse cellular environment.
 
Importantly, mutations in the Omicron spike protein significantly overlapped with SARS-CoV-2 mutations known to promote adaptation to mouse hosts, particularly through enhanced spike protein binding affinity for the mouse cell entry receptor.
 
The study findings collectively suggest that the progenitor of Omicron jumped from humans to mice, rapidly accumulated mutations conducive to infecting that host, then jumped back into humans, indicating an inter-species evolutionary trajectory for the Omicron outbreak.
 
The study findings were published on a preprint server and are currently being peer reviewed. https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.12.14.472632v1
 
The study team used the molecular spectrum of mutations of the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant to trace its proximal host origins.

The Omicron Research team found that the molecular spectrum of pre outbreak Omicron mutations was inconsistent with the rapid accumulation of mutations in humans, but rather suggested a trajectory in which the progenitor of Omicron experienced a reverse zoonotic event from humans to mice sometime during the pandemic (most likely in mid-2020) and accumulated mutations in a rodent host (most likely mouse) for more than one year before jumping back to humans in late-2021.