Study: Omicron may be more transmissible due to sharing of genetic material with colds

The omicron variant may have evolved from the common cold virus, researchers at Cambridge, Mass., said in a preliminary study released on Friday, which suggests that the variant may be much more heritable than previously thought.

Nference, a biomedical company, has released data revealing that omicron shares genetic material similar to HCoV-229E, a human coronavirus that causes cold symptoms. The researchers postulate that omicron evolved from an individual “co-infected” with Sars-CoV-2 and HCoV-229E.

The study authors found both viruses inside the gastrointestinal and respiratory tissues of infected individuals. They wrote that “genomic interaction”, or the exchange of genetic material, could have led to the emergence of omicron. No other Sars-coV-2 variant has similar genetic material crossed with HCoV-229E.

Nference also compared the genetic material of omicron to other Sars-CoV-2 variants, including the highly transmissible and dominant delta variant. They found omicron harbors 26 distinct mutations of the variant.

Omicron first appeared in South Africa on November 24 before expanding to more than two dozen countries on six continents, including the United States, in about a week.

The variant has yet to be declared more deadly or more transmissible by the World Health Organization or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but its spread – much faster than delta – has alarmed the world and health experts. public. The United States is one of a number of countries restricting travel from several countries in southern Africa.

South Africa, which had seen a lull before omicron was detected, saw cases jump from around 2,000 a day on Thanksgiving to more than 11,000 a day on Thursday.

Antoine FauciAnthony FauciStudy: Omicron could be more transmissible due to sharing of genetic material with common cold Preview of Sunday broadcasts: Several states detect cases of the omicron variant Three omicron cases of COVID-19 identified in Maryland: Gov. Hogan, the director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, said at a press conference on Wednesday that the timing and transmissibility of omicron, as well as the ability of vaccines to combat it, are still unclear.

“We will get this information,” he added. “We’re going to get a lot more information.”


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