A new analysis of COVID19 coronavirus genomes from over 15,000 Covid-19 patients from 75 countries has found that none of the new mutations appears to be transmitted at a higher rate. The study, which is published today as a pre-print and has not yet been peer-reviewed, builds on another recent, peer-reviewed study published in the journal Infection, Genetics, and Evolution. The previous study characterized patterns of diversity emerging in the genome of SARS-CoV-2.
“We employed a novel technique to determine whether viruses with the new mutation are actually transmitted at a higher rate, and found that none of the candidate mutations appear to be benefiting the virus,” lead author Professor Francois Balloux (University College London Genetics Institute) said in a statement.
Coronaviruses can develop mutations in three different ways: by mistake from copying errors during viral replication; through interactions with other viruses infecting the same cell; or as a result of the immune response of the host. Most mutations are neutral, while others are advantageous or detrimental to the virus.
The research team from multiple institutions has so far identified 6,822 mutations in SARS-CoV-2 across the global dataset. Of those, the researchers honed in on 31 mutations which have occurred at least 10 times independently during the course of the pandemic.
The researchers modeled the virus’s evolutionary tree and analyzed whether a particular mutation was becoming increasingly common within a given branch of the evolutionary tree.
The researchers found no evidence that any of the common mutations are increasing the virus’s transmissibility. Instead, they found some common mutations are neutral, but most are mildly detrimental to the virus.
The mutations analyzed included one in the virus spike protein called D614G, which has been widely reported as being a common mutation that may make the virus more transmissible. The researchers said the new evidence suggests this mutation is, in fact, not associated with increased transmission.
The researchers found most of the common mutations appear to have been induced by the human immune system, rather than being the result of the virus adapting to its novel human host.
Instagram Down: Giving 5xx Server Error
Update 19 Mar 2021 23:38 IST: Instagram and other apps are now working fine.
Instagram is currently facing downtime and users from all around the world are reporting Instagram Server Down on Twitter. Some users are also facing downtime on WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.
The Instagram app is showing “couldn’t refresh feed”. and the Instagram website is giving 5xx Server Error.
Earthquake in Nalanda, Patna – Bihar with 3.5 Magnitude
An earthquake of magnitude 3.5 was reported near Nalanda in Bihar on Monday night, according to India’s National Center for Seismology.
The epicenter of the earthquake was 20 km northwest (NW) of Nalanda, Bihar, India, the agency said. The earthquake struck at 9:23 PM IST at a depth of 5 km from the surface. Tremors were also felt in Gaya, Bhagalpur, Nalanda, Patna.
Uttarakhand Power Plant Damaged After The Glacier Burst
Uttarakhand: A glacial burst in Chamoli district, Uttarakhand triggered an avalanche and massive flooding of the Alaknanda and Dhauliganga rivers on Sunday morning, forcing the emergency evacuation of thousands from surrounding areas, and damaging houses and the nearby Rishiganga power project.
Disaster response and management teams have been deployed to conduct search-and-rescue and relief operations. Around 100 to 150 people may have been killed, Uttarakhand Chief Secretary Om Prakash told news agency ANI. Authorities fear hundreds more may still be stuck. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is in Assam to campaign for Assembly polls, tweeted: “India stands with Uttarakhand and the nation prays for everyone’s safety.”
Disaster management teams have been mobilized and hundreds of ITBP (Indo-Tibetan Border Police) have been rushed for rescue operations.
SN Pradhan, chief of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), said that teams from the relief force have been moved for search-and-rescue and relief operations in Uttarakhand where a glacial burst has triggered an avalanche. “The glacial burst has taken out a bridge constructed by the Border Road Organisation. Also in the higher reaches, the Rishiganga hydel project also has been damaged,” he said.