Take a fresh look at your lifestyle.

SARS-CoV-2 is 1000 TIMES better at infecting human cells than its closest relative in bats

A study found that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, originated after several coronaviruses were combined into one.

Scientists came to the conclusion while trying to understand the evolutionary history of the coronavirus in an effort to make a vaccine.

High-resolution images show that the peak on the surface of SARS-CoV-2 is 97 percent identical to the peak on the coronavirus most similar to it, called RaTG13, which is found in bats.

However, the small differences make SARS-CoV-2 much more stable and 1000 times better at sticking to a receptor on human cells called ACE2, a study reveals

ACE2 has been called the ‘access key’ to the human body and the mutations at the peak of SARS-CoV-2 make it a perfect fit.

The researchers at the Francis Crick Institute in London say their finding does not help clarify the origin of the virus, which killed more than half a million people.

But this latest research indicates that the virus developed naturally and over time and was not human-induced.

China has repeatedly dismissed allegations that the coronavirus originated in a laboratory in Wuhan city, where the pandemic started in December.

And officials of the World Health Organization have contested the claims multiple times, because there is no evidence that the new coronavirus was made in a laboratory.

Scroll down for video

Depicted cry electron microscope images of the RaTG13 coronavirus in bats

Shown, the SARS-CoV-2 virus peak as image by the Francis Crick Institute team

Shown, the SARS-CoV-2 virus peak as image by the Francis Crick Institute team

SARS-CoV-2 (right), the virus that causes Covid-19, has a pike that is more stable and 1000 times better at hooking up a receptor on human cells called ACE2, which allows it to infect a person than its closest relative , a coronavirus called RaTG13 (left) that occurs in bats

A team of researchers from the Francis Crick Institute in London used a technique called cryo-electron microscopy to create the most detailed image of the peak of the coronavirus ever taken.

The surface spike has been a target of academics for several months as it determines how the virus evades the immune system and infects cells.

Using cryo-electron microscopy, the scientists compared SARS-CoV-2 to the most famous family member, RaTG13.

The researchers say that RaTG13 is unlikely to be harmful to humans, and it is probably not possible to infect our cells via the ACE2 receptor.

The spikes are called both proteins, which are made in part of sugars, and they are used by cells to communicate and communicate.

Both of the separate coronaviruses had spikes that were nearly identical in shape and structure, but for a handful of minor tweaks.

However, these small differences strongly influenced the infectivity of the virus in humans, making it 1000 times better at entering human cells.

Antoni Wrobel, co-lead author of the study, said, “The spike is the access key that allows SARS-CoV-2 into human cells.

“Changes in the genome of the virus, which affect the structure of the peak, therefore have the potential to more or less enable the virus to enter the host’s cell.”

Covid-19 causes delirium, stroke, and nerve damage

Infection with the coronavirus can cause delirium, stroke, and nerve damage in “a higher than expected number of patients,” a study found.

Experts from University College London have reported a ‘worrying increase’ during the pandemic of a rare encephalitis known to be caused by viral infections.

Usually seen in children, acute disseminated encephalomyelitis – or simply ‘ADEM’ – affects both the brain and spinal cord.

The condition – which can follow minor infections like the common cold – causes immune cells to activate to attack the greasy protective layer covering nerves.

The researchers warned that clinicians should be aware of the risk of neurological effects to aid early diagnoses and improve patient outcomes.

“At some point in the evolution of this virus, it seems to have picked up changes, such as the differences we found, that allowed it to infect humans.”

Exactly how the SARS-CoV-2 new coronavirus evolved remains a mystery, but the researchers of the latest study say the most likely explanation is that it was the result of several viruses joining together.

A first theory that scientists had constructed to explain how the coronavirus came about was that a coronavirus was passed on in bats to an intermediate host, possibly pangolins, and infected humans from there.

Another theory claims that the virus has sprung directly from bats onto humans in a wet market in Wuhan.

Bats are generally immune to coronaviruses and are a reservoir for dozens of viruses. However, they can rarely jump from one species to another.

Understanding how SARS-CoV-2 made this transition and how it evolved in the first place are important pieces of information that can help scientists create a vaccine.

Donald Benton, another lead author of the study, says, “The exact process of how SARS-CoV-2 evolved remains unclear and is something many researchers are trying to put together.

“Our work provides a piece of this puzzle, as it suggests that the virus does not come directly from the bat coronaviruses currently known.”

Steve Gamblin, group leader of the Structural Biology of Disease Processes Laboratory at the Francis Crick Institute, adds, “The world was taken by surprise by SARS-CoV-2.

“By examining the structure of this virus and its likely precursor, we can better understand where it comes from and how it interacts with human cells.”

The full findings are published in Nature Structural & Molecular Biology.

With surface spikes, the coronavirus can avoid the immune system

The SARS-CoV-2 virus protrudes a large number of spikes from the surface that it uses to attach to and invade cells in the human body.

These spikes are covered in sugars known as glycans, which hide their viral proteins and help evade the body’s immune system.

“By covering themselves with sugars, viruses are like a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” explains Professor Crispin.

The coronavirus has a relatively low level of sugar shielding.

Due to the lower glycan density, there are fewer obstacles for the immune system to neutralize the virus with antibodies.

Professor Max Crispin of the University of Southampton is also studying the peak of understanding more about the virus.

In April, he created one of the first 3D models of the virus, showing the large amount of spikes on the outside.

He found that the spikes, which are made of sugars, cause it to sneak into the body unnoticed and behave ‘like a wolf in sheep’s clothing,’ the researchers say.

But the researchers found that the new coronavirus isn’t as heavily protected or disguised as some viruses, such as HIV.

Professor Crispin says that Sars-CoV-2 projects a large number of spikes from the surface that it uses to attach to and invade cells in the human body.

These spikes are covered in sugars known as glycans, which hide their viral proteins and help evade the body’s immune system.

Professor Crispin said earlier, “By coating itself in sugars, viruses are like a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

“But one of the main findings of our research is that, despite how many sugars there are, this coronavirus is not as well protected as some other viruses.

“Viruses like HIV, which hang around with one host, have to constantly evade the immune system and they have a very dense layer of glycans to shield the immune system.

But in the case of the coronavirus, the lower sugar shielding may reflect that it’s a ‘hit and run’ virus, moving from one person to another.

‘Due to the lower glycan density, there are fewer obstacles for the immune system to neutralize the virus with antibodies. So this is a very encouraging message for vaccine development. ‘

.