Scientists have tracked the mutation of the coronavirus

During mutation the new type of coronavirus is divided into three lines, one of which occurred in Europe. Its scientists think is the most contagious.

Scientists from the Tasmanian University analyzed the genomes of thousands of strains of SARS-CoV-2 and came to the conclusion that the virus was divided into three separate lines, each of which has its own set of mutations in key genes. Preliminary results of a study published on Tuesday, may 19, in the electronic scientific library bioRxiv.

“Our observations show that currently circulate in parallel with three different lines SARS-CoV-2, which are significantly different from each other from the point of view of epidemiology. For example, line C, which is characterized by high growth rate, appeared in Europe at the end of February. Characteristic mutations are located in those areas of the virus genome that are directly responsible for its propagation and penetration into the cells,” – said in the work.

Molecular biologists since the first days of the outbreak COVID-19 trying to understand, in what direction and how evolyutsioniruet pathogen – coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Today it is known that the mutations it accumulated at about the same rate as the influenza virus, however what can cause these mutations, scientists still can not understand.

Biologists have divided the virus into three separate lines that differ in transmissibility and other biological properties, and how they spread to different corners of the Earth. The first two of them scientists call line A and line B. the Researchers note that they are rather poorly distinguished from each other. These varieties appeared in the early days of the epidemic, in November or in December 2019. Initially, line A and line B spread in China, but later they got into other countries in Asia and the US West coast.

The third subtype of coronavirus, line C, came much later, in late February. It originated in Europe and differs from the two other set of important mutations in the S gene, which is responsible for the penetration of SARS-CoV-2 in human cells, and in the ORF1ab gene, critical for reproduction of the virus.

These changes, as the researchers note, not only increased the transmissibility of the virus, but also made it more variable, speeding up the process of accumulation of mutations in its genome. The appearance of the line C, as suggested by the Charleston and his colleagues, explains why the virus started to spread rapidly across Europe in early March. Now this line is the most common type of the virus in the world.

The researchers do not exclude that the C line could so quickly spread across Europe and due to random factors – for example, due to the fact that she first entered her territory and was able to gain a foothold there. As the researchers note, follow up on their dissemination, especially in countries of the Middle East, for which almost no data will show which of these two hypotheses is closer to the truth.

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