In Iceland, a patient first became infected with two strains of coronavirus for the first time. About this writes the magazine Reykjavík Grapevine with reference to the head of the biopharmaceutical company deCODE genetics Kari Stefansson.
According to Stefansson, a patient in Iceland is the first case in history when a person became ill with two strains of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
The second strain is a mutation of the original version of the coronavirus, which was found in China. In this variation, the virus became more aggressive, since the patient infected the people who came into contact with it with this particular strain. Experts note that this mutation of the virus has not yet been detected outside of Iceland.
Two strains of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus are now known for sure – the Chinese version and the European one into which the original virus mutated in February 2020. Compared to the first samples of the new coronavirus, a 382-letter-long nucleotide fragment disappeared from its genome next to ORF8, a special site in the coronavirus RNA that is responsible for starting the process of assembling protein N, one of the key components of SARS-CoV-2. It is this fragment of coronavirus that is associated with the copying of its RNA and the formation of new viral particles.
A change in the genome made it less active in the first phases of infection and, accordingly, less noticeable for human immunity.