SARS-CoV was discovered in China more than seventeen years ago. At the time, it had spread to 26 countries and only affected 8,000 people in 2003.
The new coronavirus appears to be much more contagious. “The starting point of our study was to find out why SARS-CoV, a coronavirus that led to a much smaller outbreak in 2003, and SARS-CoV-2 spread so differently when using the same main ACE2 receptor,” explained Ravi Ojha. Virologist and co-author of the study published in the journal Science.a new protein
The researchers then examined the genome of the virus and identified the “keys” that allow it to adhere to cells and infect them. And it looks like the new virus has a new one. “Unlike its old parent, the new coronavirus had an extra space on its surface proteins, which are also found in the tips of many devastating human viruses, including Ebola virus, HIV, and highly pathogenic strains. including bird flu, ”said Olli Vapalahti, another virologist who participated in the study.
This new key is the neurophilic transmembrane protein 1. It could “steer the virus towards the door,” believes Giuseppe Balistreri, also co-author of the study.
So far, Chinese researchers have identified 149 smaller variants of the virus among the 103 genomes analyzed.
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