March 22, 2020 at 9:34 am #344600
Dear Janus, Earth Angel and Poet:
You are welcome and thank you for your input. It makes sense that scientists are studying human DNA genome for the purpose of figuring out treatment or a vaccine for the coronavirus, because the virus’s RNA interacts with the human DNA, if I understand correctly, and the result of different interactions lead to different severity of symptoms, from mild to severe. A person’s immune system’s strength often has a lot to do with symptom severity (from zero, to mild, to severe), and the strength of a person’s immune system is greatly influenced by the person’s DNA genome, I figure.
You wrote that “the human genome is 3.2 billion base pairs”. I wonder how many bases make a coronavirus, and I know it’s a single strand virus, so no base pairs.
You wrote that the coronavirus responsible for the current epidemic is called SARS-CoV-2 and the disease is called Covid-19. The first human coronavirus was discovered in the 1960s. There are four types of coronavirus: alpha, beta, delta, and gamma. Only two types, alpha and beta, are coronaviruses that infect humans. The seven human coronaviruses that have been discovered then, are of two types.
The MERS-CoV disease and epidemic resulted in the death of 30% of the people infected, more more deadly than SARS-Cov-1 of the past (nearly 10%) and the current SARS-Cov-2 (“1-2% of those affected”, you wrote later).
Viruses mutate and that is why it is so difficult to find a vaccine for them- this is why there is no vaccine (or a viral treatment) for the common cold, even though it is so common- the viruses that cause the common cold mutate too often.
You read in a Healthline.com article, “Treatment for Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)” that Chinese scientists have a drug called APNO1 that may help with the current virus but the FDA didn’t approve of it yet. The way the virus enters people’s lungs is by its ACE-2 protein bonding with the human ACE-2 receptor. The drug is supposed to block the virus’s protein from connecting with the human receptor to it.
The older SARS disease in the early 2000s “took eight months to spread to about 8,000 people”, but the current SARS disease took about two months only to spread to 75,000 people.
All in all, the current virus “may spread more easily, but causes less mortality rates”. You wrote that the two coronaviruses responsible for the two SARS, “share 79.5% of their genome and belong in the class betacoronaviruses, and both viruses use the human ACE2 receptor as their way to enter the human lungs.
anitaMarch 23, 2020 at 12:19 pm #344782
Thank you so much for your encouragement and for your time. I find studying how diseases occur and human health very interesting. I was reading an article titled “What can genomics tell us about the coronavirus?” (From the Genomics Education Programme research in England) that says Chinese scientists were the first to sequence the genome of the current coronavirus and they discovered that the coronavirus has 26-32 thousand base pairs. The article also mentions that the scientists compared nine samples of the coronavirus taken from patients who had been infected and they discovered that the current coronavirus shares similarities with a bat strain rather than to other human coronaviruses so they think that the current coronavirus likely evolved from mutations of a coronavirus that had originally been affecting the bat population, but they are still figuring out if there was an intermediary host that caused the spread to humans. The scientists say that the Sars disease that is closely related to the current coronavirus came from a different bat strain and there was an intermediary host that caused the spread to humans, so they think that it is possible that the current coronavirus originated from the bat population.
So, the scientists decided to do more research and looked for differences in coronavirus samples taken from different human patients and they found many similarities in the people who were infected and they discovered that the coronavirus that started to become widespread in the world due to human to human contact is the result of a single strain of coronavirus. Since the coronavirus genome sequence was similar in all the samples taken from the nine patients, the scientists think that the coronavirus had a single origin likely from the bat population.
“What can genomics tell us about the coronavirus?” Feb. 11, 2020
The scientists have decided to use pcr (polymerase chain reaction) to sequence the genome of the coronavirus so that scientists can better understand it and work on developing treatments for it. PCR can sequence the genome of the coronavirus samples taken from patients in 4-6 hours ( Genomics: combating coronavirus article). Oslo, Norway is currently working on a vaccine that they think will take six-eight months before it is safe to release for public use.
Since scientists already have a decent understanding of the coronavirus genome, they have two drugs (remdesivir and chloroquine) that have been helpful for people with mild coronavirus symptoms. For more severe symptoms, Chinese scientists are still working on APNO1 drug that can help if the coronavirus spreads to the lungs. (Healthline.com article about current coronavirus treatments).March 23, 2020 at 1:02 pm #344794
Another interesting thing about the current coronavirus from “Mutations can reveal how the coronavirus moves—but they’re easy to overinterpret” article from sciencemag.org :
“Over the length of its 30,000-base-pair genome, SARS-CoV-2 accumulates an average of about one to two mutations per month, Andrew Rambaut says. “It’s about two to four times slower than the flu.””
Since the coronavirus mutates slower, this allows researchers to sequence the viral genome much easier. It also allows researchers to make connections between different people who get infected by the coronavirus.
According to “UCSC genome browser posts the coronavirus genome” article (University of California- Santa Cruz, link eurekalert.org) :
the coronavirus genome consisting of a single-strand RNA has been analyzed using a Genome Browser that provides a visual representation of the coronavirus genome. The Genome Browser allows researchers to zoom in and out of the genome and they have discovered that the coronavirus has approximately 10 individual genes and comprises 29,903 base pairs. The researchers have discovered that amongst the ten individual genes, the largest is the spike protein on the virus’s outer membrane which the virus uses to snag onto human cells and then enter the human cell to make more virus cells. Scientists are working on using CRISPR* to see if they can target specific sequences in the virus’s genome and understand how certain genes work or how to make certain genes inactive in the virus which might lead to the virus being less virulent (less severe or harmful).
“UCSC genome browser posts the coronavirus genome” Feb. 7, 2020 article.
*[CRISPR is a tool that allows scientists to target a specific genetic sequence and then make a cut in the DNA or genome. Some uses for CRISPR currently are scientists working on using CRISPR to manipulate specific genes such as using it to knock out a gene (making it inactive) and possibly repair a mutation by replacing the mutated gene with a healthy one.]
March 23, 2020 at 1:10 pm #344800
- This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by Janus.
Dear Janus, Earth Angel and Poet:
Yesterday you wrote that the human genome is made of 3.2 billion base pairs”. I wrote to you that I wonder how many bases make the (single strand, no pairing) of the coronavirus genome, and you answered me today, thank you: “26- 32 thousand base pairs”. That is, I don’t have a calculator on me, how much smaller than the human genome (32 divided by 3.2 billions)?
Also, you shared that you read that scientists discovered that the current coronavirus, SARS-Cov-2, has more genetic similarities to a bat strain of coronavirus than it does to other human coronaviruses. This is amazing to me. I know of the cross species transfer of the current virus from bats to humans.. that makes sense now, I see. And of course, the virus mutated further once it crossed species, as it does every single time that it occupies a new host.
I hope a vaccine will be developed and approved sooner than later. If a vaccine is to be approved in Norway in 6-8 months, it will be just in time for next winter. Before a vaccine is available, I do hope effective anti viral medications can be approved, sooner than later, or better say ASAP. You mentioned “remdesivir and chloroquine” as well as APNO1 that’s been worked on as we speak (type, that is).
Thank you for more information. It is helpful to me to read your posts on the matter because you explain things so clearly, you are gifted in this regard. I remember your past explanations on other topics, when you introduced a new term that you didn’t discuss earlier, you explained it, and also, you inroduced the context of what you were talking about, making it easy for me to follow you. Again, you are gifted this way. I also prefer shorter posts, that way I don’t get overwhelmed with quantity.
anitaMarch 23, 2020 at 2:48 pm #344824
I just plugged the numbers (32,000/3.2 billion) into a scientific calculator and the result is 0.00001. So the coronavirus is 0.00001 times smaller than the human genome. I hope that a vaccine is developed sooner as well because quarantine is hurting the economy a lot with businesses closing down and stock market declining. Coronaviruses typically affect birds and mammals such as humans (bats are mammals as well) and they can cause diseases ranging from the common cold to the current coronavirus. Coronaviruses often cause illness during winter and early spring months. According to medicalnewstoday.com article, humans who catch a cold due to coronavirus may catch the same one again in four months because coronavirus antibodies (help fight infection in a person’s immune system) do not last for a long time. In addition, the person’s immune system antibodies may be ineffective against a different strain of coronavirus because the coronavirus is a RNA virus that can mutate. The World Health Organization says that people over the age of sixty and people with weakened immune systems have more likely chance of getting severe symptoms of the current coronavirus.
“What to know about coronaviruses” March 23, 2020; medicalnewstoday.com
The current coronavirus breaks into human cells by using a spike protein (S-protein) that is on the outer membrane of the virus cell and the coronavirus uses the spike protein like a key to fit into a doorknob of the ACE2 receptor in respiratory cells allowing the coronavirus to enter the human body. This was discovered by scientists studying how coronavirus enters the human body, discovery in Feb. 19 and published in March 4th in the journal Science.
That is why the new drug APNO1 that Chinese scientists are working on may be helpful with combatting the coronavirus since the APNO1 drug may help block the virus from getting to the ACE2 receptors in the respiratory cells and make the virus less virulent.
“Scientists figure out how new coronavirus breaks into human cells” livescience.comMarch 23, 2020 at 3:28 pm #344840
Dear Janus, Earth Angel and Poet:
I will read and reply to your recent post when I am more focused, which may be tomorrow morning, in about 15 hours from now. Be good to yourself, please.
anitaMarch 24, 2020 at 8:18 am #345068
Dear Janus, Earth Angel and Poet:
Thank you for plugging the numbers. So the Coronavirus genome is 0.00001 the size of the human genome, that is 0.0001% of the human genome, a tiny, tiny fraction.
“Coronavirus often cause illness during winter and early spring months”- so when this huge outbreak dies down, a new outbreak can happen next winter, including people who already contracted the coronavirus, similar to a person having a cold, recovering, then having another cold four months later, according to what you shared. A person who contracts the common cold, or the coronavirus develops antibodies for the virus, but a few months later, the winter after, let’s say, a new common cold virus or a new coronavirus infects the person, a virus that the existing antibodies don’t respond to. It is so because viruses mutate and new forms of viruses are formed during the fast evolution of viruses.
The current coronavirus has a spike protein (S-protein) on its outer membrane. The S-protein is like a key that the virus uses to enter a host cell. The S-protein bonds with the ACE2 receptor in the human respiratory cells, and the virus enters its host cells, harming them, causing the symptoms of COVID-19.
A new drug, APNO1 may block the virus from bonding to the ACE2 receptor, therefore, clocking the virus from entering our respiratory cells, or block most from entering our cells, which makes “the virus less virulent”, if I understand correctly.
anitaMarch 31, 2020 at 8:01 am #346382
Dear Janus, Earth Angel and Poet:
I am thinking about you. Hoping you are okay!
anitaMarch 31, 2020 at 11:08 am #346408
Thank you for wishing me well, hope you are having a good week so far. I spent yesterday doing some spring cleaning around the house. I have been following updates on the coronavirus and it is very fascinating. I am also learning Italian and French from friends and I find it lots of fun. Here are some interesting things that I have found about the coronavirus:
Chinese scientists in Wuhan tested the samples of nine patients affected by the current coronavirus and they found that in these nine patients the coronavirus genomes were similar to a coronavirus that was originally found in bats making them think that the current coronavirus may have come from bats and this was confirmed by researchers in England and France (Genomics Education Programme from England article). The SARS-COV-1 (sars disease) in 2003-2004, which shares 79.5 % of its genome with the current coronavirus (SARS-COV-2) was discovered by scientists to have come from bats, so currently scientists believe that the current coronavirus that is spreading likely originated from a mutation in a coronavirus that was originally from the bat population and spread to humans. Scientists also think that once the current coronavirus spread to humans, there was no other intermediate species that facilitated the spread, but that the current coronavirus became widespread due to human to human contact. According to CNN, the reason why humans are coming into contact with bats and getting the current coronavirus and spreading it to others via human interactions is that people are cutting down trees for homes in forests where bats live and that is making the bat population come into closer contact with people.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says that the current coronavirus is not airborne because the droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes are too heavy to remain in the air and they fall onto surfaces where if a person touches the surface and then touches their face with their hands there is a chance for the coronavirus to enter the body.
Why the current coronavirus is not genetically made in a laboratory:
Scientists discovered that the coronavirus spike protein on the virus’s outer membrane was so effective at binding to the ACE2 receptors on the human respiratory cells that scientists think that the virus likely resulted as a product of natural evolution rather genetic engineering.
The evidence for natural evolution is further supported by the coronavirus’s molecular structure because scientists discovered that the coronavirus structure resembled that of the coronavirus that originally affected bats and differed from the known coronaviruses. The current coronavirus is an RNA virus and RNA viruses can mutate, if it was manufactured in a laboratory it would not be able to mutate itself, the fact that it can mutate its genome points that natural evolution may be at play to select for traits that help the virus spread. In addition, the coronavirus shares similarities to the sars virus that originated from bats which makes scientists think that the coronavirus may have came from bats and then spread to humans. (ScienceDaily article).March 31, 2020 at 1:20 pm #346434
Dear Janus, Earth Angel and Poet:
Good to read back from you, and to know you are doing well. I am having as good a week as I can, thank you. So even Earth Angels do spring cleaning around the house ! I wan to read your post regarding your scientific understanding of the coronavirus when I feel more rested, which will be tomorrow morning, if not earlier. I will be back to your thread later.
anitaApril 1, 2020 at 11:51 am #346576
Cher Janus, ange de la terra et poete (French)
Caro Janus, Angelo Di terra e poeta (Italian):
You wrote that SARS-Cov-1 of 2003-4 (it was 2002-3) shared 79.5% of its genome with the current Sars-Cov-2. Scientists believe that SARS-Cov 2 is a mutated form of the same original virus of bats, an original virus that crossed species from bats to humans, giving rise to the first SARS, and later, to the current SARS.
You wrote that the current SARS-Cov-2 was not genetically engineered (some conspiracy theory, I presume, claimed that?), but naturally evolved.
It occurred to me yesterday, that given how passionate you are about science, and how well you explain scientific topics, and given your difficulties in the context of laboratory work, you may be suited to be a journalist, or a reporter for a news sources, reporting on scientific topics. That way, you will not be dealing with lab work, recording data in rigid forms, and instead, you will be able to use your creative writing talent, in a free form, as you report on topics you feel passionate about.
anitaApril 1, 2020 at 1:29 pm #346590
Thank you so much for your advice. I enjoy writing about science articles that I read because it’s fascinating and interesting. I’m more of a creative scientist rather than one who takes research and writes formal lab reports. I like to read science articles about different topics and explore them in more detail and then talk about it with people. I’m going to be taking some writing in the health sciences classes fall semester which will help me build my writing skills so that I can write articles about human health. I am thinking it would be great to work with the CDC or other health organizations to provide knowledge about diseases to people.
Hope you are staying healthy in the midst of the coronavirus and don’t stress yourself too much. I decided to take a break from the coronavirus updates to share some positivity.
P: Progress may seem slow at times and that’s okay
O: Opportunities will open along your path, have hope and keep going along the way
S: Sometimes you may feel lost in darkness, remember that the stars shine brighter in darkness and that you are a beautiful soul
I: Individuals like you have creative ideas and are in this world for a reason
T: Take time to relax and enjoy the moment, spending time out in nature to relieve stress
I: Inspiration for you is out there in the world, so go out and explore
V: Venture to places that make your heart beat faster and light up your soul
I: Imagine yourself as the person you want to be and have hope that you are walking the path towards your goals
T: Talk to yourself as if you were talking to a friend, treat yourself with care because you are worth so much
Y: Your goals are your own and they should be the ones that make you happy, you are the person living your life and writing the pages so make each day a day of gratitude and keep working on your goals.April 1, 2020 at 1:32 pm #346592
I learned some positivity in Italian and French:
Che la salute benedica la tua vita e la pace riempia la tua mente e la positività riempia il tuo cuore per aiutarti nei momenti stressanti della tua vita
“May health bless your life and peace fill your mind and positivity fill your heart to help you in the stressful moments of your life”
tu es être de lumière , tu es magnifique
ne laisse personne te dires contraire
“you are light, you are beautiful
don’t let anyone tell you otherwise”April 1, 2020 at 3:09 pm #346608
Dear Janus, Earth Angel and Poet:
You are welcome, and thank you for the Positivity Poem, and for your good wishes and kind words for me in English, French and Italian! I hope you find peace in your break from researching the science behind our pandemic, and that peace of mind will be more and more how you experience life.
Improving your creative writing skills in the field of science, maybe working for the CDC as a writer, what a wonderful, exciting goal to consider!
anitaApril 4, 2020 at 12:39 pm #347098
Hope you are having a good weekend. It is currently sunny here in New Jersey. I started planting some flowers in the garden and soaking up the positivity of the sunshine. I am adopting to the pace of nature, allowing my inner light to shine like the sun, dancing to the music of my heart like the wind and working on establishing my self-confidence like a tree. Here is something that I found interesting that combines my love for nature and science:
Some interesting things:
The moon has no light of its own, it reflects the sunlight. Sometimes the sunlight is quite strong and as it shines, the moon reflects a yellowish-orange glow. The moon sometimes is in the sky in the early hours of dawn as a small light whitish semicircle before the day breaks and I think that the colors of the sky are the sun rising. As the sun rises, the moon fades away. As the hours of the night pass, the moon seems to become more whiter in its glow, I think when the moon first rises it is faintly yellow-orange because the sun has just recently set and as the night progresses the moon becomes more whiter as the sun sets below the horizon. the moon seems the brightest white in the hours of 12am when the sun is below the horizon and directly shining it’s light that is reflected by the moon. As the sun rises in the sky as the day progresses the moon fades away because it has no light of its own and it is the sunlight that gives the moon the light.
In addition, sunlight is all of the color wavelengths of visible light combined together so it’s actual color is white. If you view the sunlight through a prism, you will see the color wavelengths of the visible spectrum. However, the sun appears yellow because people view it from the Earth and the Earth’s atmosphere reflects some of the color and it is filtered through the lens of the atmosphere so depending on where the sun is throughout the day, we see different colors of yellow, red, or orange.
The Earth’s atmosphere changes the color of the sunlight that people see because it scatters the the light waves of the sun in a process called Rayleigh Scattering. The Earth’s atmosphere scatters the violet and blue light in the visible light spectrum. Violet has the shortest wavelength on the visible light spectrum and it is scattered by the Earth’s atmosphere because the short wavelengths of light do not have much length to travel through Earth’s atmosphere. The blue light is scattered by the Earth’s atmosphere as well and as the blue light is scattered by the molecules of Earth’s atmosphere, this scattering of the blue light gives the sky its blue color.
At sunset and sunrise, the sun appears orange or slightly red because people view the sun through a thick layer of the Earth’s atmosphere which scatters most of the shorter wavelengths of the visible spectrum. Likewise, at midday or noon when the Earth’s atmosphere is the thinnest, the sun appears closest to its actual color which is white and may have a slight yellowish tint.
The moon appears more yellowish-orange when it is closer to the horizon because the moon has no natural light of its own and it reflects the sunlight so when the sun is closer to the horizon such as at sunset and the sun is reddish-orange, it casts its light on the moon making it have that color. However, when the sun sinks below the horizon, the Earth’s atmosphere is thinner and less of the visible light is scattered so the sunlight is white (which combines all the colors of the visible spectrum) and when it casts its light on the moon as the moon rises higher in the sky and the sun sets, the moon appears white.
Hope this makes sense!
Science is fascinating and there’s always something interesting to learn.
Thoughtco.com article “Why the sun looks yellow when it’s not”