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 The study, which is published today as a pre-print and has not yet been peer-reviewed, builds on another recent, peer-reviewed study published in the journal Infection, Genetics, and Evolution.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.
A man in New Zealand finds insects in his Domino’s pizza
A man in West Auckland, New Zealand says he was left feeling sick after allegedly discovering maggots (insects larva) on his takeaway pizza order from Domino’s. However, the Domino’s Pizza outlet where Reginald Thalari says he bought the pizza denied the claim.
On Tuesday afternoon, Thalari purchased four pizzas from Domino’s Pizza outlet in Avondale for his employees. But it was after they had eaten a few slices that Thalari alleges they made a stomach-churning discovery.
“It was disgusting. We ordered four pizzas but when we opened the box with pepperoni we saw maggots on the ham. I felt like spewing, to be honest. If someone says would you like some pizza I think I’ll turn them down next time.”
However, a Domino’s spokesperson said that it is extremely unlikely maggots would have been in store pre-purchase and said it would be “impossible” for eggs to survive the temperature of their ovens.
“Domino’s takes food health and safety extremely seriously, and ensures these standards are upheld through regular audits and inspections of stores throughout the year,” the spokesperson said.
The Domino’s Pizza spokeswoman further said that “Upon learning of this customer’s experience, we contacted the customer directly and have organised a deep clean of the store, as well as for our pest control company to further inspect,”
Singer Shobhit Sahay won hearts with his song ‘Mehrbaan Alvida’
Music can evoke many emotions in you. Songs help you express feelings for which you can’t find words. Singers play a key role in giving that effect to a song with their beautiful voices. In a country like India, many young singers are leaving people impressed with their impeccable talent. Shobhit Sahay from Muzaffarpur is one such talented singer/vocalist who is here to rule hearts.
Currently, Shobhit Sahay is grabbing headlines and making people fall in love with his song ‘Mehrbaan Alvida’. His melodious voice has elevated the song’s mood along with the catchy music. The song is trending on the internet and has crossed more than 100K views recently. Shobhit is over the moon with such a positive response to his latest release.
Along with being a good singer, Shobhit Sahay is also popular among the netizens as a social media influencer. Shobhit has thousands of followers on his Instagram account, where he shares videos covering various tracks. A few months ago, legendary singer Stebin Ben praised Shobhit for his amazing vocal skills. Shobhit also runs a YouTube channel where people can’t get enough of his talent and music skills.
Shobhit shares about his journey and love for music, “I have been into music since childhood. I used to listen to singers like Arijit Singh, Stebin Ben, Jubin Nautiyal and others. They captivate your mind with their soulful voice. They made me believe in my dreams and I am happy that people enjoy my work, especially my latest songs. I hope I keep making more original songs and people keep showering me with such good love.”
Thanks to the success of Mehrbaan Alvida, singer Shobhit Sahay has got the attention of many top Bollywood composers. Currently, various music composers have approached his to sing either for a movie or web show. Shobhit is excited about the way his singing career is shaping. Soon, he will announce his new project on social media.
About the enormous love and appreciation she receives on social media, the singer expresses, “I am incredibly amazed by the support and fondness of my Instagram followers. Their constant comments, appreciation, likes, and sharing of my content is what made me so strong in the world of social media. Deeply overwhelmed with the response. I hope I keep giving my best and make my followers and music lovers happy.”
Top military officer of India, CDS General Bipin Rawat passed away in chopper crash
General (retd) Bipin Rawat, India’s first Chief of Defence Staff General, passed away on Wednesday when an Indian Air Force helicopter ferrying him and 13 others crashed near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu, the Indian Air Force said.
The crash took place as Rawat was on his way to the Defence Services Staff College in Wellington. It is being speculated that the crash took place due to low visibility in foggy conditions.
“With deep regret, it has now been ascertained that Gen Bipin Rawat, Mrs Madhulika Rawat and 11 other persons on board have died in the unfortunate accident,” the Indian Air Force (IAF) said in a Twitter post late Wednesday.
“Gen Bipin Rawat, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) was on a visit to Defence Services Staff College, Wellington (Nilgiri Hills) to address the faculty and student officers of the Staff Course today,” the IAF said in a second post.
Rawat, a former Indian army chief, took office as the first CDS on 1 January 2020 at the start of a three-year term. He was the one point defence advisor to the Defence Minister. He was also entrusted with carrying out some of the country’s key defence reforms – creating synergy among the three services by merging their 17 different commands into four or five joint commands. The new commands were to focus on specific borders.