The Omicron variant of COVID-19 is known to have multiple mutations. The study suggests that one of the mutations in the Omicron variant came from genetic material from another virus.
Study leader Venky Soundararajan of medical data analysis firm nference said some of the genetic sequences Omicron had were not found in the previous COVID-19 variant. However, these sequences are known to be common in other viruses, including the virus that causes the common cold.
Previous studies have found that cells in human lungs can be infected with COVID-19 and other viruses at the same time. Researchers believe that this co-infection could trigger recombination, a process by which two different viruses in the same host cell interact while they reproduce and produce “offspring” that share some of the genetic material from both.
“We may have missed several generations of this recombination,” said Soundararajan.
Researchers say that the Omicron variant may be more difficult to “see” by the immune system this way. More research is needed to confirm it.
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