Omicron may have acquired a mutation from common cold virus, say researchers

WION Web Team
New York Published: Dec 04, 2021, 04:38 PM(IST)

At least one mutation in Omicron variant of Covid has been acquired from common cold virus (representative image). Photograph:( Twitter )

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If the researchers are to be believed, at least one mutation in Omicron variant of COVID-19 seems to have been acquired from the common cold virus. The genetic sequence in question doesn’t appear in earlier versions of the virus called SARS-CoV-2. It is, however, present in common cold virus and in human genome

If the researchers are to be believed, at least one mutation in Omicron variant of COVID-19 seems to have been acquired from the common cold virus.  

The genetic sequence in question doesn’t appear in earlier versions of the virus called SARS-CoV-2. It is, however, present in common cold virus and in human genome, said researchers.  

Also Read: Is Covid variants' origin linked to immunocompromised people?

By adopting this snippet into itself, the new variant seems to be making it look itself "more human" to help it evade attack by human immune system, said Venky Soundararajan, who belongs to Cambridge, Massachusetts-based data analytics firm ‘nference’. Soundararajan led the study, which was posted on the website ‘OSF Preprints’ on Thursday.  

It means the virus may transmit easily but may cause only mild or asymptomatic disease.   

As per earlier studies, the cells in the lungs and gastrointestinal system can harbour coronavirus and common cold virus simultaneously.  

Also Read: Omicron variant spreads in Australia as authorities look to reopen economy

This co-infection can lead to viral recombination, where two different viruses in the same host cell interact to make copies. The new copies have genetic material of both "parents."  

In the study, which has not been peer-reviewed yet, Soundararajan and colleagues said that the new mutation may have first occurred in a person, who was infected with both pathogens. It helped the version of SARS-CoV-2 pick up the genetic sequence from the other virus.  

(With inputs from agencies) 

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