Omricon cases rise to 4 in India after Indian travelers from Africa test positive in Gujarat and Maharashtra – archyde

The Omicron variant of the virus that causes Covid-19 likely acquired at least one of its mutations by ingesting a snippet of genetic material from another virus – possibly one that causes the common cold – found in the same infected cells, according to researchers is available.

This genetic sequence is not found in any previous version of the coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2, but it is ubiquitous in many other viruses, including those that cause colds and also in the human genome, researchers said.

By inserting that particular snippet inside of itself, Omicron could make itself look more “human” which would help it avoid attacks by the human immune system, Venky Soundararajan of Cambridge, Mass., Told nference, who led the study on Thursday OSF Preprints website.

READ: Decrypted | Why the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 is being discussed

This could mean the virus is more easily transmitted while causing only mild or asymptomatic illness. Scientists don’t yet know if Omicron is more contagious than other variants, if it causes more serious illness, or if it will overtake Delta as the most common variant. It can take several weeks for you to receive answers to these questions.

According to previous studies, cells in the lungs and gastrointestinal system can harbor SARS-CoV-2 and cold coronaviruses at the same time. Such co-infection sets the stage for viral recombination, a process by which two different viruses in the same host cell interact while making copies of themselves and making new copies that contain some genetic material from both “parents”.

This new mutation could first have appeared in a person infected with both pathogens when one version of SARS-CoV-2 took up the genetic sequence of the other virus, said Soundararajan and colleagues in the study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed .

The same genetic sequence is found many times in one of the coronaviruses that cause colds in humans – known as HCoV-229E – and in the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes AIDS, Soundararajan said.

South Africa, where Omicron was first identified, has the highest rate of HIV in the world, which weakens the immune system and increases a person’s susceptibility to infection with the common cold virus and other pathogens. There are many people in this part of the world who may have had the recombination that added this ubiquitous set of genes to Omicron, Soundararajan said.

“We’ve likely missed many generations of recombinations” that happened over time and led to the creation of Omicron, added Soundararajan.

More research is needed to confirm the origins of the Omicron mutations and their effects on function and portability. There are competing hypotheses that the newest variant may have evolved in an animal host for some time.

Meanwhile, Soundararajan said the new results underscore the importance of the people receiving the Covid-19 vaccines currently available.

“You need to get vaccinated to reduce the chance that other people who are immunocompromised will encounter the SARS-CoV-2 virus,” Soundararajan said.

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