A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Bath and the University of Edinburgh has suggested that the novel coronavirus is being actually mutated by human proteins. However, the natural section of the virus is enabling it to bounce back again. Researchers who took part in the study also revealed that their findings will help to develop a highly effective vaccine against the pandemic.
Coronavirus Mutation Not a Random Process
In a recent statement, researchers noted that all organisms mutate, and it is basically a random process due to the mistakes made when DNA is copied. However, when it comes to coronavirus, the mutation is not random, and it is initiated by the human body.
Researchers made this conclusion after analyzing over 15,000 virus genomes from all of the sequencing efforts around the world, and it helped them to find more than 6,000 cases of mutation.
"Mutation is usually a random process often owing to mistakes made when DNA is copied. Recent work from researchers at the Universities of Bath and Edinburgh, suggests that in the case of SARS-CoV-2, mutation may well not be a random process and that instead, humans are mutating it, as part of a defense mechanism to degrade the virus. Natural selection -- survival of the fittest -- is allowing the virus to fight back against the mutational process," explained the researchers in the statement.
Did healthcare sector underestimate coronavirus' mutation capabilities?
Professor Laurence Hurst, director of the Milner Centre for Evolution at the University of Bath, and the lead author of the study called the mutation capabilities of coronavirus 'strong and strange'.
"I have looked at mutational profiles for many organisms and they all show some sort of bias, but I've never seen one as strong and strange as this. Knowing what selection favors and disfavors in the virus is really helpful in understanding what an attenuated version should look like," said Hurst.
As per the latest statistics, coronavirus has already claimed the lives of more than 6,49,000 people worldwide, and the number of positive cases has crossed 16 million. The United States continues to be the worst-hit nation due to the pandemic outbreak, and the country is toppling the chaos chart with over four million positive cases, and 1,49,000 deaths.