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Desi Expert Tracks SARS-CoV-2 ‘Great Grandfather’ | India News


The effort to trace the origins of SARSCoV-2, which causes Covid-19, would not have been as demanding if ‘patient zero’ had already been found. In January, the WHO said that we may “never find out who was patient zero.” But there was a way to identify the virus’s ancestor, which a molecular epidemiologist in India found by “predicting” the story with data. It turned out that the ancestor or parent genome had been around since at least October 2019 and survived until March 2020.
The parent is the coronavirus genome found in that person who passed it on to others, and then everyone else got descendants of that coronavirus. “Everyone was curious about the new strains after December 24, 2019 (when the first case was reported). We wanted to know which strain came first, the progenitor, ”Dr. Sudhir Kumar, director of the Institute of Genomics and Evolutionary Medicine at Temple University, told TOI. “We can tell you that the time of the ancestor’s origin was around or before October 2019.” Two months before the first case, far ahead of the reference genome sequence that is now being used.
But the parent did not die. “We found that it was still circulating after the offspring began to spread. He was present in China in January 2020 and in the United States in March 2020, ”said Kumar, who is originally from Delhi. So the ancestor virus didn’t need a mutation to spread. “It was ready to go on its own. SARSCoV-2 is his great-grandson, three mutations away. ”
To get there, Kumar and his team adapted a process called mutation order analysis, which is often used to study mutations in tumors. The findings were published in the Oxford Academic journal ‘Molecular Biology and Evolution.

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