Researchers Warn That Wuhan Coronavirus Evolution Should Be Monitored In Patients As An Easy Possible Genomic Mutation Could Be Catastrophic
The newly emergence of the Wuhan coronavirus
) has put the world on high alert for transcontinental transmission, reminiscent of the outbreak of SARS, also a coronavirus
Decade-long structural studies by Dr Fang Li of the University of Minnesota, et al. have shown how the SARS virus (SARS-CoV) interacts with animal and human hosts in order to infect them. The mechanics of infection by the Wuhan coronavirus
appear to be similar.
These virology investigators used the knowledge they gleaned from multiple SARS-CoV strains that were isolated from different hosts in different years and also angiotensin-converting enzyme-2 (ACE2) receptors from different animal species to model predictions for the novel Wuhan coronavirus.
(Both viruses use ACE2 to gain entry into the cell, but ACE2 serves normally as a regulator for heart function.)
Dr Fang Li told Thailand Medical
News via a phone interview, "Our structural analyses confidently predict that the Wuhan coronavirus
uses ACE2 as its host receptor."
The investigators wrote that and several other structural details of the new virus are consistent with the ability of the Wuhan coronavirus
to infect humans and with some easy capability to transmit among humans.
Dr Fang Li however warned, "Alarmingly, our data predict that a single mutation (at a specific spot in the genome
) could significantly enhance the Wuhan coronavirus
's ability to bind with human ACE2.”
She further added, “For this reason, Wuhan coronavirus evolution
in patients should be closely monitored for the emergence of novel mutations
at the 501 position in its genome
, and to a lesser extent, the 494 position, in order to predict the possibility of a more serious outbreak than has been seen so far.”
According to Dr Li, these type of gene
” or mutation
is easy to occur considering the nature of the virus structure and characteristics.
Yushun Wan et al, Receptor recognition by novel coronavirus
from Wuhan: An analysis based on decade-long structural studies of SARS, Journal of Virology
(2020). DOI: 10.1128/JVI.00127-20