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General News    H3'ed 2/17/21

Exclusive: Two variants have merged into heavily mutated coronavirus;By Graham Lawton

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'The UK and California variants of coronavirus appear to have combined into a heavily mutated hybrid, sparking concern that we may be entering a new phase of the covid-19 pandemic, because people can be infected with two different variants at once. Recombination could lead to the emergence of new and even more dangerous variants, although it isn’t yet clear how much of a threat this first recombination event might pose. Unlike regular mutation, where changes accumulate one at a time, recombination can bring together multiple mutations in one go. Most of the time, these don’t confer any advantage to the virus, but occasionally they do. “This kind of event could allow the virus to have coupled a more infectious virus with a more resistant virus. ”Read More'

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At www.newscientist.com

 

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I began teaching in 1963,; Ba and BS in Education -Brooklyn College. I have the equivalent of 2 additional Master's, mainly in Literacy Studies and Graphic Design. I was the only seventh grade teacher of English from 1990 -1999 at East Side (more...)
 

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Susan Lee Schwartz

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From the article:

"The recombinant was discovered by Bette Korber at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, who told a meeting organized by the New York Academy of Sciences on 2 February that she had seen "pretty clear" evidence of it in her database of US viral genomes.Korber has only seen a single recombinant genome among thousands of sequences and it isn't clear whether the virus is being transmitted from person to person or is just a one-off.

"We may be getting to the point when this is happening at appreciable rates," says Sergei Pond at Temple University in Pennsylvania, who keeps an eye out for recombinants by comparing thousands of genome sequences uploaded to databases. He says there is still no evidence of widespread recombination, but that "coronaviruses all recombine, so it's a question of when, not if."

The implications of the finding aren't yet clear because very little is known about the recombinant's biology. However, it does carry a mutation from B.1.1.7, called Δ69/70, which makes the UK virus more transmissible, and another from B.1.429, called L452R, which can confer resistance to antibodies.

"This kind of event could allow the virus to have coupled a more infectious virus with a more resistant virus," Korber said at the New York meeting.Recombination commonly occurs in coronaviruses because the enzyme that replicates their genome is prone to slipping off the RNA strand it is copying and then rejoining where it left off. If a host cell contains two different coronavirus genomes, the enzyme can repeatedly jump from one to the other, combining different elements of each genome to create a hybrid virus."

Submitted on Wednesday, Feb 17, 2021 at 3:56:43 PM

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