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Did Ômicron really come from rodents? Scientists analyze possibilities

In early December, scientists at the Scripps Research Institute hypothesized that Ômicron evolved into rodents . In a recent study published in the journal Journal of Genetics and Genomics , a team from the Chinese Academy of Sciences analyzed the possibilities in depth. Had the variant actually evolved among rodents after all?

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First of all, it is necessary to understand that the coronavirus enters the human body through a receptor called ACE2. In mice, the corresponding receptor is called hACE2, but it showed a low affinity for the spike protein of the virus, so the group had to make some artificial interventions in the animals to proceed with the analysis.

The researchers noticed a significant difference between the variant mutations and the other viruses that evolved in human patients. In turn, there was similarity with the mutations in mice. The plot twist is that Ômicron does not depend on ACE2 and directly attacks cells. With this, the scientists conclude that the hypothesis that the variant evolved from mice is indeed possible.


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Did Ômicron really come from rodents? Scientists analyze possibilities (Image: twenty20photos/Envato)

But the study was unable to answer which species of mouse generated this evolution of the coronavirus. It could have been a wild species, for example. Another possibility is that the variant appeared in laboratory rodents. According to the article, virus characteristics can be easily developed under specific conditions, according to the needs and trends of the cell lines used.

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