Iranian researchers have identified some genetic mutations of COVID-19 that are specifically occurring in the country.
An article by researchers of Royan Institute for Reproductive Biomedicine recently published entitled “Profiling of initial available SARS-CoV-2 sequences from Iranian related COVID-19 patients”.
The bioinformatics analysis, published in the Cell Journal, showed 44 different nucleotide mutations that caused 26 nonsynonymous mutations in protein sequences with regard to the reference full genome of the SARS-CoV-2 sequence.
The etiologic agent SARS-CoV-2 has caused the outbreak of COVID-19 which is spread widely around the world. It is vital to uncover and investigate the full genome sequence of SARS-CoV-2 throughout the world to track changes in this virus.
All living viruses and cells have a genetic structure that ensures their survival. The novel coronavirus also has an RNA-like genetic structure, the virus multiplies as soon as it enters the human cell, producing hundreds or more of the same virus as the original one, and then each virus attacks another cell.
The virus performs its own simulation through a genetic sequence in its genetic material, its RNA, and it is important to know its genetic code for treatment, or making vaccines, and diagnostic kits, as well as controlling the virus.
To this purpose, SARS-CoV-2 full genome sequence profiling of 20 patients in Iran and different countries that already had a travel history to Iran or contacts with Iranian cases were provided in the research.
It showed that some of the detected mutations only were found in Iranian data in comparison with all the available sequences of SARS-CoV-2, as a six-nucleotide and two-amino-acid insertions were detected in the full genome sequence of SARS-CoV-2 with Iran’s location.
The position of S protein mutations showed they were far from the binding site of this protein with angiotensin-converting enzyme-2 (ACE2) as the host cell receptor. These results can be helpful to design specific diagnostic tests, trace the SARS-CoV-2 sequence changes in Iran, and explore therapeutic drugs and vaccines.
Mehdi Tutunchi, Najmeh Salehi, Amir Amiri Yekta, and their colleagues conducted this research.
Coronavirus more infectious
Earlier in July, global researches showed that a specific change in the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus genome has caused it to be more infectious by 3-9 times compared to the onset of the pandemic.
Research, published in the journal Cell, indicated the variant in question, D614G, makes a small but effective change in the virus’s ‘Spike’ protein, which the virus uses to enter human cells.
Bette Korber, a theoretical biologist at Los Alamos National Laboratory and lead author of the study, noted that “These findings suggest that the newer form of the virus may be even more readily transmitted than the original form – whether or not that conclusion is ultimately confirmed, it highlights the value of what were already good ideas: to wear masks and to maintain social distancing.”
The study, entitled “Tracking changes in SARS-CoV-2 Spike: evidence that D614G increases infectivity of the COVID-19 virus”, suggests that viruses with D614G change in Spike out-competes original strain, but may not make patients sicker.
COVID-19 mortality in Iran
In the press briefing on Friday, Sima-Sadat Lari confirmed 3,049 new cases of COVID-19 infection, raising the total number of infections to 416,198. She added that 355,505 patients have so far recovered, but 3,869 still remain in critical conditions of the disease.
In the past 24 hours, 144 patients have lost their lives, bringing the total number of deaths to 23,952.
Lari added that so far 3,691,399 COVID-19 tests have been conducted across the country.
She said the high-risk “red” zones include Tehran, Mazandaran, Gilan, Qom, Isfahan, Khorasan Razavi, East Azerbaijan, Kerman, North Khorasan, Semnan, Yazd, Zanjan, and Qazvin provinces.