Omicron could share genetic code with common cold coronavirus – .

Omicron could share genetic code with common cold coronavirus – .


Researchers in Massachusetts have found that the Omicron COVID-19 variant can share a genetic code with a coronavirus that causes the common cold. Photo by Peter Foley / UPI | License photo

December 4 (UPI) – The Omicron COVID-19 variant may have scavenged genetic material from a virus that causes the common cold, possibly making it more transmissible but less virulent than other variants, according to a preliminary study.

A preprint study by researchers at the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Nference company found this genetic code snippet that is also present in a virus that can cause a cold after sequencing the Omicron variant, reported the Washington Post.

The researchers said the mutation could come from a person simultaneously infected with SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, and HCoV-229R, which can cause the common cold.

The study has not yet been peer reviewed.

Venky Soundararajan, co-author of the study, said the “striking” similarity between Omicron and HCoV-229E could have led the variant to be “more accustomed to human hosts” and more likely to elude responses. immune.

“By virtue of Omicron adopting this insert … it’s basically a sheet from the Seasonal Coronavirus page, which [explains] … How it lives and spreads more effectively with human beings, ”he said.

The variant quickly spread across South Africa, where scientists first identified it, and cases in Gauteng province – home to the country’s densely populated economic center – have doubled by about all. the three days.

South Africa also reported 11,535 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, a jump of 35% from the previous day, as its National Institute for Communicable Diseases said on Wednesday that Omicron had become the dominant strain in November, representing 74% of the genomes sequenced.

The variant has since been discovered in dozens of countries and has been identified in at least 12 US states.

The first U.S. case of Omicron was identified in California on Wednesday and additional cases were reported in the following days in Colorado, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Utah, according to health officials.

U.S. health officials, however, said the Delta variant remains the dominant strain in the country.

“We currently have about 86,000 cases of COVID in the United States diagnosed daily and 99.9% of them, the vast majority of them, continue to be Delta,” the director of the Centers for Disease said on Friday. Control and Prevention from the United States, Dr. Rochelle Walensky. .

“And we know what we need to do against Delta, which is get vaccinated, get boosted if you are eligible and continue all these preventive measures, including masking,” she added. . “And these are very likely to work against the Omicron variant. “


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