Thanks to the new discovery, scientists hope to predict how the evolution of the coronavirus will proceed in the future. Research and related findings are published by the electronic scientific library bioRxiv.
It is now known that the new type of coronavirus accumulates mutations at almost the same rate of the influenza virus. But how they appear and affect the genome of the virus remains unknown. All theories raise questions and lead to fierce discussions.
In a new study, biologists led by Professor Dominik Kwiatkowski of the Senger Institute took a close look at how mutations accumulate in the coronavirus genome. The researchers were able to decipher the RNA structure of several thousand SARS-CoV-2 particles and compare them with each other. Scientists observed how the new type of coronavirus changes during transmission from person to person, and also found out whether it changes during the development of infection in the body of one individual.
The analysis showed that the virus mutates at approximately the same rate, both during “external” transmission and in the human body. Scientists also found that mutations in the SARS-CoV-2 genome for the most part do not arise from random errors during copying. This is typical of most known viruses. When it comes to a new type of coronavirus, the accumulation of mutations occurs as a result of damage or improper editing of an already finished copy of the RNA of the virus.