Did Omicron evolve in a RODENT? Scientist claim ‘weird’ mutations suggest it jumped back and forth between animals and people after early version of variant ‘vanished’ in 2020 and only re-emerged now

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  • There are more than 32 mutations in Omicron and scientists are unsure how it got them
  • There’s a new theory Omicron jumped back and forth between people and animals
  • The Omicron strain also shares many mutations with the virus that infects rodents.

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A scientist has theorized that the super-mutant Omicron strain of Covid that has caused panic across the world may have evolved in rodents.

The mysterious origins of a heavily mutated strain of Covid have puzzled experts as South African scientists alerted the world that existed last week.

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Omicron has 32 mutations on its spike protein alone, about five times more than Delta, and there are concerns that its highly divergent nature could make it more permeable and that vaccines would be less effective at preventing infection.

In recent times it has also emerged that Omicron has effectively evolved in the dark, having split in evolutionary terms from other forms such as alpha and delta sometime in the middle of last year, overlooked by scientists.

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The prevailing theory is that Omicron emerged as a long-lasting infection in an immunocompromised patient, possibly with unknown AIDS.

This gave the virus time to adapt to the patient’s immune system, resulting in multiple mutations.

But Professor Christian Andersen, an immunologist at the Scripps Research Institute in California, has theorized that the virus that became Omicron may have evolved in rodents – known to be carriers of the coronavirus – after an infected human passed the virus to them. .

This would explain why it broke away from its evolutionary branch and ‘disappeared’ at some point in 2020 and re-entered a population with so many unusual mutations, many never before seen.

Could Omicron have evolved in rodents? The widely popular theory of a new supermutant covid variant being developed in an immunocompromised patient doesn’t stack up, a scientist says

In the case of the spike protein, the omicron is about five times more mutated than in the delta.  The mutation of delta gave it an edge over alpha allowing it to overtake its predecessor and become the dominant strain.  There is a possibility that Omicron will do the same.

In the case of the spike protein, the omicron is about five times more mutated than in the delta. The mutation of delta gave it an edge over alpha allowing it to overtake its predecessor and become the dominant strain. There is a possibility that Omicron will do the same.

So far, 59 cases of Omicron have been confirmed in the UK.  Twenty-nine infections have been seen in England, including three in Westminster and two each in Barnet, Buckinhamshire, Camden, Lewisham and South Northamptonshire.  And there has been an increase in Scotland's cases from 16 to 29 today.  The first 13 infections were split between Lanarkshire and the Greater Glasgow and Clyde region, but a government spokesman declined to confirm where the 16 new cases were seen.  And Wales announced this afternoon that its first case has been found in Cardiff.

So far, 59 cases of Omicron have been confirmed in the UK. Twenty-nine infections have been seen in England, including three in Westminster and two each in Barnet, Buckinhamshire, Camden, Lewisham and South Northamptonshire. And Scotland’s cases have increased from 16 to 29 today. The first 13 infections were split between Lanarkshire and the Greater Glasgow and Clyde region, but a government spokesman declined to confirm where the 16 new cases were seen. And Wales announced this afternoon that its first case has been detected in Cardiff.

Omicron’s ancestor must have then adapted to infect the animal host, resulting in its heavily mutated nature, before passing back to humans and then rapidly spreading to others in a process called ‘reverse zoonosis’.

Professor Anderson based this theory on the fact that Omicron diverged from other COVID variants in the middle of last year, with genomic samples suggesting that it only began circulating among people sometime in October this year.

The mystery of what happened between these two periods is what made Omicron so different.

Adding that this is only theoretical, Professor Anderson said in a Twitter post that he favored a zoonic, animal-based, origin for Omicron because ‘the lineage is old and undetermined in immunocompromised patient(s) for this long period of time’. Circulation seems impossible’ and that Covid has previously been shown to jump between species.

Second, is that many mutations of the omicron have also occurred in rodent species such as mice and hamsters.

What mutations occur in OMICRON?

A group of mutations – including K417N, S477N, E484A and N501Y – are thought to help omicron dodge antibodies that normally help fight viruses.

And N501Y, previously seen on Alpha, helps the virus bind to the body’s cells more easily, allowing it to enter the body and replicate more efficiently.

Meanwhile, it has 26 mutations on its spike protein that have not been observed in the previous variants.

Three mutations found at the furin cleavage site can increase the transmissibility of omcron. These include P681H, previously observed in alpha, as well as H655Y and N679K, which the scientists observed in the gamma strain.

A series of mutations may help the virus bind to a human cell and help the omicron evade the body’s immune response. These include the T478K, which was also on the Delta and the Q498R, which has not been seen on the earlier variants of the concerns.

and the missing mutation, including 105–107 . Are included

Two mutations in the nucleocapsid – R203K and G204R, found on alpha and gamma strains – may be associated with increased infectivity.

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One of the theories about the origin of COVID is that it originally jumped from animal species like bats to humans, and the virus has since been found in minks from fur farms in Denmark, and last night in deer There have been reports of the virus being found. in Canada.

Professor Anderson said that although many scientists have concluded that Omicron came from an immunocompromised individual, such as an HIV patient, it is too early to call.

‘While it is certainly possible, we have no data showing it. Let’s keep all hypotheses open,’ he wrote.

When asked about the theory, British experts said they still favor the immunocompromised patient theory.

Responding to the theory, Professor David Livermore, a microbiologist at the University of East Anglia, said that he acknowledged that omicrons diverged from their ancestors some time ago, adding that an immunological patient theory was probably the origin of the variant’s mutated nature.

“Omicron is far from its ancestor and has an unusual combination of many changes,” he said.

‘More likely it has been selected under strong selective pressure, for example …

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