Genetic Mutation Current Affairs - 2020

GBRC scientists find three new mutations of COVID-19

On April 17, 2020, the scientists at Gujarat Biotechnology Research Centre (GBRC) have found three new mutations of COVID-19 virus. With this, GBRC becomes the first government laboratory in the country to sequence whole genome of COVID-19.

Highlights

There are six mutations of the virus that have been found so far. The scientists at GBRC have found three more new mutations. Therefore, so far 9 mutations of the virus have been found.

Also, it has been mentioned that the virus can mutate manifold. The scientists believe that the virus can mutate twice a month. In order to obtain complete genome sequences of the virus, more samples of COVID-19 samples are required.

Genome Sequencing

The Genome Sequencing is a method that is used to find DNA sequence of genome of an organism.

Bats

The ICMR has recently found COVID-19 virus in two species of fruit bats. This says that active surveillance of bats is also essential to find the emerging strains of the virus.

Mutation and Pangolins main source of COVID-19

According to a research published in the journal “Pathogen”, virus jumped to humans from Pangolins. Also, mutation was the main reason for the virus to target human cells so easily and hence leads to fast spread of the virus.

Highlights

The study has found that the virus has jumped to humans from Pangolins. Pangolins are the most trafficked animals in China. They are traded for their medicinal values. The initial cases of the virus were reported to have originated from the Hunan market of Wuhan city where illegal trade of Pangolins is common. Wuhan was the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak.

How does the Virus enter Human Cells?

The COVID-19 virus has a spike protein. These proteins contain Receptor Binding Domain (RBD) that facilitates the entry of the virus. The RBD binds with the angiotensin-converting enzyme-2 (ACE-2) found in lungs, heart, kidneys and gastrointestinal tract.

Mutation

The researchers say that COVID-19 is a mutated version of SARS virus that created an epidemic in 2002-03. Also, the mutation increased their ability to get bonded to ACE-2 enzymes.