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Researchers suspect that SARS-CoV-2 might be evolving since 2013

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Researchers of the University of Calgary in Canada, suspect that the novel Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) might be in evolution among humans since around 2013. But it might not be the same strain that is causing this COVID-19 pandemic.

Six strains of Coronavirus wereCoronavirus commonly prevalent among animals. But the seventh strain is an anonymous strain that is wreaking havoc in the form of COVID-19 and causing a global catastrophe by infecting the human population in the mass.

While scientists throughout the world are working hard to figure out the virus, its effects, origin, and cure, the World Health Assembly had passed a resolution to find the source of the strain.

There are multiple theories of origin. One, the virus got transferred from an animal to a human. Two, it was artificially developed in a laboratory in china for some medical reasons. However, studies rule out this possibility by saying the origin is natural and not human-made.

Recently, a team of researchers at the University of Calgary in Canada say that the SARS-CoV-2 might have been in circulation among humans beginning from as early as 2013. However, it would not be the same strain responsible for the pandemic. They have submitted their report at the Biorxiv, but the findings of the research have not yet been reviewed by the peers.

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It is upon the survival mechanism of the viruses that they keep evolving with the changes with the host organism, i.e., if the host evolves, the virus evolves too. So, when the virus jumped from an animal to human, it would nave underwent genetic modification that would produce a new strain of the same virus, only that now it is more powerful and infective. This implies the virus that had mild or no effect on the animal host may have enormous impacts on the human host. For example, the strain of the virus in the bats did not affect the bats, as their immune system was equipped to co-exist with the virus. However, once it jumped hosts, we obviously tend to fall sick.

What does the Canadian Study say?

The study was conducted by the University of Calgary in Canada between 30 December 2019 to 20 March 2020, when they collected about 479 genome sequences of the novel Coronavirus to study its phylogeny. Phylogeny is the study of the evolutionary development of the virus and its relation to other closely related viruses.

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The researchers examined the spike protein of the strain of SARS-CoV-2 and how it attaches to the receptors in the human body. This attachment of the novel Coronavirus and the receptors to the human cells determine how the virus invades the healthy tissues. They found 16 variant strains of the virus and about 11 missense mutations out of the 479 genomes. A mutation is when a single nucleotide change makes the DNA/RNA code for a different protein. Thus, some of them gave rise to a separate phylogenetic tree.

Another one of their findings included that the SARS-CoV-2 might be a combination of both bat virus and the pangolin virus. The study found that the genome of novel coronavirus matched 96 percent with that of bat virus and 90 percent with that of the pangolin virus. They predict that this variant might have developed due to a co-infection in the host.

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To trace the origin of this novel Coronavirus, the researchers created an ancestral sequence of the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 and labeled it N1. RBD is the part of the spike protein that actually binds with the receptor. The animal virus, which is the common ancestor, was labeled N0.

With what they discovered in the experiment, the scientists concluded that the binding affinity of SARS-CoV-2 might not be a determinant of its infectivity. Further, they predict that there should be some other factors that increased their infectivity in humans. The main conclusion is that the ancestral virus could have been infecting humans too, but with unnoticeable symptoms.

 

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Health

Dengue Fever brings Long-term health issues, Symptoms and Side effects

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Dengue Fever brings Long-term health issues, Symptoms and Side effects

When spoken or discussed of the most severe and damaging virulent infectious diseases manacing India, the first name that pops up is ‘Dengue’. The global figures reflect, this disease infects nearly 400 million people annually and claims almost 22000 lives. In India, this is one of the most severe ‘health hazards,’ and the number of infections and morbidities is ‘worryingly high.’ This year itself saw a whopping increase in dengue infections to a whopping figure of ‘67000 counts’. As we are currently struggling with coronavirus infections, this dengue menace has further contributed to our woes.

The leading cause of this ‘Dengue Menace’ is a virus attack caused by the bacterias belonging to the same family of’ four closely related’ dengue mosquitos. A person gets diagnosed with dengue apparently when he/she gets bitten by a mosquito named ‘Aedis,’ which infects the blood of the person with its venom and spreads the infection gradually all over the internals. Hence, severe precautions and safety measures are necessary to follow to avoid contracting this disease.

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SYMPTOMS OF DENGUE VIRUS

A person infected with the virus would display the following symptoms incase he contracts the infection. Some of the symptoms are as follows-:

  • Very ‘ high-temperature fever
  • Headaches
  • Eyestrain
  • Muscle ache/ severy body pain
  • Fatigue
  • Vomiting, and others.

The symptoms can also be quite mild, which is only a serious concern to address as it is a high possibility among doctors to misconstrue it as ‘flew’ or other virulent infection. If not correctly attended to and treated at an appropriate time, it can further transform into more severe ailments like ‘hemorrhagic fever,’ which could eventually lead to a person’s untimely demise. Research shows that people belonging to older age groups with lower degrees of ‘immunity level’ are more susceptible and vulnerable to contracting the infection quickly. Besides that, people diagnosed with dengue for a second or subsequent time also hold a high chance of ‘hemorrhagic fever.’ It could further lead to some severe health issues in a person’s body and might result in lymph blood vessels damage, nose bleeding, liver enlargement, massive internal bleeding, and even ‘shock and death, commonly termed as DSS( Dengue Shock Syndrome).

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There are a few precautions that are necessary to take to avoid contracting this virus. Some of them are as follows-

*Wearing fully covered clothes while outdoors.

*Frequent use of mosquito repellants and safety nets.

*Avoid going to places where generally many mosquitos breed.

*Proper ‘air-conditioning’ environment (if possible to arrange).

*Timely consultation from doctors and medical experts when one shows the symptoms.

*Using properly enclosed windows with no space.

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Which Covid-19 mask will protect me from Virus attack?

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Which Covid-19 mask will protect me from Virus attack?

There has been much debate and research taking place by the experts and medical professionals as to what kind of face mask would provide the best safety and prevention from the attack of the menacing coronavirus. Wearing protective face masks have proven to herald the spread of coronavirus infections to some extent. However, there is still a lot of doubts and apprehensions among people to decide on what kind of face masks they should wear to shield themselves?

As per the research and examinations of medical experts and global health bodies like WHO, they have given high preference to surgical grade N-95 respirators followed by surgical grade masks. However, such covers are mostly reserved for health professionals and those under high vulnerability, including children and senior citizens, because of the grave concerns about the possibility of these surgical masks contributing to landslide pollution, environmental degradation, and suffocation issues to people. The prime reason for preferring ‘graded surgical masks’ over ordinary covers is also the fact that it provides a little breathing space to people, which makes it a bit less smothering and more comfortable to wear. Doctors have also suggested to wash and clean up the masks every time one wears it. 

It’s still not very clear as to which masks would best save the people from the attack and the extent of protection it could provide. There has been extensive research taking place concerning that. Most testings and discoveries surrounding the appropriateness of masks have concluded that the ones with the tighter fittings around the mouth hold high chances of protection compared to the standard paper masks. However, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) had announced that any covering in mouth, including a bandana, would suffice in shielding people from the attack.

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There has been high importance given to wearing masks, especially in public, where people continuously come into contact with other people, which enhances their exposure, and the risk to contract the virus becomes manifold. The governments across the world, especially the countries where the count of coronavirus cases are incredibly high, have made sure to deploy police and security personnel to make sure everyone wears masks, and penalize people who fail to cover themselves.

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Does Tea Cure COVID-19?

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It is a well-known fact that improved immunity is the only way to fight against COVID-19 infection as there are no drugs or vaccines discovered to destroy the virus. Doctors have been treating coronavirus patients worldwide by improving immunity and fighting the virus. Similarly, improved immunity also helps prevent viral infection. Hence, immunity boosters have been playing a crucial role in the pandemic, as insisted by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Recently, a rumor has it that drinking tea does cure the coronavirus. It buzzes that the Chinese doctor Dr. Li Wenliang, who had warned in the initial stage of the COVID-19 epidemic, also found that tea cures the virus. Later it was observed that the tea consists of chemicals that kill the virus in the cells engineered in vitro experiments. But according to the Zhejiang Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in vitro tests are not enough to prove that tea helps in curing coronavirus.

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According to research in the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi, scientists have found that tea actually helps in treating coronavirus. They state that consuming Myrrh with tea is a potential cure as Myrrh and tea are effective in preventing the growth of an essential protein in the COVID-19 virus. These two plants have the power to reduce the strength of the virus, as concluded by the study of Kusuma School of Biological Sciences (KSBS) on fifty-one herbal plants on clones of the coronavirus protein.

However, clinical trials are required to come to a conclusion, says Prof. Ashok Kumar Patel, leader of the research, IIT.

Benefits of Green Tea

According to scientists, green tea is rich in anti-bacterial properties and also helps in controlling cholesterol and Blood Pressure (BP). Also, black tea is an excellent immunity booster.

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