Scientists have discovered a new mutation in the coronavirus that suggests the bug may be weakening.
This is similar to a change found in the Sars virus in 2003, which marked a changing tide in this epidemic, experts said.
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The new mutation could make the virus less likely to beat the body’s immune system, the Arizona State University team said.
They took 382 samples from coronavirus patients in the state and found that a viral sample lacked much of the bug’s genetic material.
This is similar to what happened with the original Sars virus, which started an epidemic in 2003.
This makes the infection weaker, experts said, adding that it signals the start of the end of the Sars epidemic.
Although only one patient in Arizona has been found to have this new Sars-CoV-2 mutation, the researchers say that if virus genome sequencing becomes more common, more cases could emerge.
The study author said that “fairly significant development” could plead scientists in the right direction when it comes to developing a vaccine.
Covid virus compared to HIV
The study also made comparisons with HIV – a virus that is constantly mutating, making billions of copies in one day.
But research suggests that Covid-19 is more “reliable” than HIV – giving scientists a better chance of developing a vaccine to defeat it.
Dr. Efrem Lim said that the SARS virus has acquired large deletions in the “SS3 proteins”, which is also visible now.
The Arizona study sequenced 382 nasal swab samples.
The coronavirus consists of 30,000 letters from ribonucleic acid (RNA) and in one of the samples, it was found that 81 letters were missing.
Dr. Lim told DailyMail.com, “These proteins are not only there to replicate – they are there to help improve virulence and suppress the immune system.
“It evolved with a more attenuated form at the end of the epidemic. “
This means that Sars had changed to become weaker over time.
But Dr. Lim admits that the sample is a “drop in the bucket” when it comes to the different sequences of the virus displayed.
He said if more coronavirus genomes are sequenced, scientists could find more examples of the attenuated genome.
The Arizona development comes after a team at the University of Dundee’s School of Life Sciences released some of the clearest images of the virus ever recorded.
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They show the formation of Sars-CoV-2 particles – the virus that causes Covid-19 – in a tissue model of the human gut seen in an ultra-powerful microscope.
Each of the images is larger than 30 to 50 GB – which is 500 to 1,000 times larger than an image saved on an iPhone.
They also show that the virus collects and leaves human intestinal cells.
Scientists from the School of Life Sciences at the University of Dundee worked alongside the Hubrecht Institute in Utrecht, the Erasmus MC University Medical Center in Rotterdam and the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands to isolate images.
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