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Source: Thailand Medical News  Feb 17, 2020  11 months ago
BREAKING NEWS! Latest Coronavirus Research On SARS-CoV-2 Genome Reveals Its Recombinant Origin and Differences Between Other Coronaviruses
BREAKING NEWS! Latest Coronavirus Research On SARS-CoV-2 Genome Reveals Its Recombinant Origin and Differences Between Other Coronaviruses
Source: Thailand Medical News  Feb 17, 2020  11 months ago
Latest Coronavirus research study by genomic researchers from Peking Union Medical College in China has revealed that the genome of new SARS-Cov-2 coronavirus that causes the Covid-19 disease has 380 amino acid substitutions when compared to the genome of the original SARS-CoV. (note that the SARS-CoV-2 if the official name of the novel 2019-nCoV virus)

Furthermore it was discovered that there are only 5 nucleotide differences when the genomes of the new coronavirus was compared with the genomes of the bat SARS-like coronaviruses, human SARS coronaviruses, and human Middle East respiratory syndrome coronaviruses (MERS-CoV)
The study which was published in Cell Host & Microbe journal involved the genomic scientists annotating three SARS-CoV-2  genomes and identifying  both differences and similarities compared with other genomes, including that of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus.
The researchers had hoped that by identifying the protein differences, it may lead to some clues as to what may be that are allowing this new coronavirus virus to be so virulent and transmissible in humans.”
To date, (as of January 22nd) there are 14 genome sequences for SARS-CoV-2 that had been released by six different labs that are  available to researchers through either the National Center for Biotechnology Information’s Genbank or the Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID).
Though some past research has done certain preliminary phylogenetic analysis and annotation, this research findings is one of the first detailed analysis of these genomes.
Computational biologist and lead researcher, Dr Taijiao Jiang and his colleagues wanted to discover insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying the functionality and pathogenesis of the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.
The research team annotated three genomes of SARS-CoV-2, which were sequenced from samples collected on December 30 and January 1 by the National Institute for Viral Disease Control and Prevention, part of the Chinese CDC and are available through GISAID.
They then made cross comparisons between the new coronavirus and  bat SARS-like coronaviruses, human SARS coronaviruses, and human Middle East respiratory syndrome coronaviruses (MERS-CoV).
The genomic researchers discovered that there were only five nucleotide differences in a total genome of about 29,800 nucleotides among the three SARS-Cov-2  genomes. They also identified 14 open reading frames, predicted to encode 27 proteins, including four structural and eight accessory proteins.
Past coronavirus research indicates that accessory proteins may mediate the host response to the virus, which can affect pathogenicity, and may make up part of the viral particle.
As the team identified just five nucleotide differences among the genomes, it’s unlikely that there are any significant changes between the viruses that affect their pathogenicity or transmissibility.
However it must be noted that it takes is one change to affect the pathogenicity and virulence of the virus and whether these nucleotide differences mean anything functionally for the viruses will be need further detailed research.
Dr Jiang and his team  noted differences in the amino acid sequences of SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2.  For instance, one SARS-CoV accessory protein, known as 8a, is absent in the new coronavirus. Other accessory proteins varied in length.
In the new SARS-CoV-2 virus, 8b is 37 amino acids longer than in SARS-CoV while 3b is shorter by 132 amino acids.
Typically, the structural proteins are very highly conserved between all coronaviruses, whereas accessory proteins are generally unique to each specific group of coronaviruses.
It is generally thought that the amino acid sequences show “the connection of this virus to the SARS-like coronaviruses and a little bit more distant relationship to SARS coronavirus.”
The genomic scientists  determined that the new SARS-CoV-2 virus  is most closely related to bat SARS-like coronaviruses, from which SARS-CoV evolved, and more distantly related to MERS coronaviruses.
However, they did not find a single bat SARS-like coronavirus in which all the proteins were most similar to those of the new coronavirus.
It was observed that some the SARS-CoV-2 proteins are more similar to those of bat SARS-like coronaviruses, while accessory proteins 3a and 8b are most similar to the SARS-CoVs.
Dr Jiang added that the study of genome data of SARS-CoV-2 together with other coronaviruses indicates that, although this new virus has high sequence similarity to SARS virus, it belongs to distinct phylogenetic branches and was  derived from SARS-like virus isolated in bat.
The genomic researchers acknowledged in the study findings that, given the limited knowledge of the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, it is difficult to infer the functional significance of the 380 amino acid substitutions they found between SARS-CoV-2 and the SARS and SARS-like CoVs.
Dr  Jiang told Thailand Medical News, “The details, as well as figuring out how the new coronavirus has mutated and adapted over its short history in humans, will be the focus of our next research.”
He further added, “Everyone has been l wondering where this coronavirus originated from, and we can see from the new sequence and the sequences that we’ve already had for coronaviruses that it’s likely to be a recombinant of a number of different coronaviruses that are known.”
Reference : A. Wu et al., “Genome composition and divergence of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) originating in China,” Cell Host & Microbe, doi:10.1016/j.chom.2020.02.001, 2020.
For more about the Latest Coronavirus Research, check out :https://www.thailandmedical.news/articles/coronavirus


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