Scientists have discovered a unique mutation to coronavirus in Arizona – and it’s a pattern that they’ve seen before.
One of the 382 samples they collected from coronavirus patients in the state was missing a sizeable segment of genetic material.
In the middle and late stages of the SARS epidemic of 2003, this very same kind of deletion started cropping up in patients around the globe.
It’s not just any mutation – the change robs the closely related viruses of one of their weapons against the host’s immune response, making the infection weaker.
As that mutation became widespread, the SARS outbreak wound down. By July – five months after it emerged in Asia in February 23 – there were no new cases, and the outbreak was considered contained.
Now, the Arizona State University researchers have only found one person who had a version of the virus with this mutation – but they say if genome sequencing for coronavirus become more common, we may find far more.
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