Wuhan Coronavirus: Research explains how it is transmitted between humans

Market Expertz   |     February 05, 2020

 

Coronavirus

The Wuhan Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has caused an alarm across the globe, putting it on high alert, and has them on the lookout for transcontinental transmission, mainly due to what happened during the SARS outbreak, another coronavirus, back in 2002-2003. The lack of cure is giving rise to more and more research focused on deciphering the structure of the virus. Research conducted after the SARS outbreak has been of some help. Structural studies that have been carried on for a decade by the University of Minnesota’s Fang Li, among others, demonstrates how the SARS virus (SARS-CoV) interacts with animal and human hosts in order to infect them. The Wuhan coronavirus seems to be functioning in the same manner. The research, published in the Journal of Virology, offers insights that can help us understand and fight the novel coronavirus.

These researchers relied on the data gathered from multiple SARS-CoV strains, which were isolated from different hosts in different years, and angiotensin, converting enzyme-2 (ACE2) receptors from several animal species to model predictions for the new Wuhan coronavirus. It has been established that both the viruses use ACE2 to enter the cell, which typically serves as a regulator for heart function. The researchers say that their structural analyses indicate that the Wuhan coronavirus employs ACE2 as its host receptor. Apart from this, some other structural details of the new virus facilitate the Wuhan coronavirus’s ability to infect humans with the same capability for human transmission.

The researchers explain that their data alarmingly predicts that a single mutation at a particular spot in the genome, could dramatically improve the virus’ ability to attach to human ACE2. Due to this, the Wuhan coronavirus evolution in patients should be monitored closely for the emergence of new mutations at the 501 position in the genome, as well as the 494 position, to predict the possibility of a more severe outbreak than has been observed until now.