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expert comment more generally on studies that look at the genome of SARS-CoV-2

A general comment on studies looking at the genome of SARS-CoV-2 in response to the number recently released.

 

Prof Martin Hibberd, Professor of Emerging Infectious Disease, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), said:

These papers and manuscripts are part of a worldwide effort to monitor this new Corona virus and establish how it is changing following its transmission through millions of humans. The viral genetic data is beginning to suggest that some of these changes may be becoming significant, although further work is required to establish this. In particular, changes to the spike protein could be important as they might affect the performance of some of the antibody-based diagnostics or vaccines under development. Overall, the virus seems very well adapted to humans and has not changed very much following its movement from animals to humans, reflected in the relatively small number of mutations observed. However, a few key mutations may have developed through selection for increased transmission. Research is needed to see if these directly alter transmission, perhaps through the human ACE2 receptor binding, or alter the immune response to the virus sufficiently to make distinct serology types. If this change is important, it might need to be added to the vaccines that are now being developed.”

 

All our previous output on this subject can be seen at this weblink: 

www.sciencemediacentre.org/tag/covid-19

 

Declared interests

Prof Martin Hibberd is working on Sars-CoV-2 genomes and the comment above references some of this work (https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.28.066977v1)

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