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December 06 2020 at 03:21 PM by Samikshya Joshi




Scientists and researchers around the world have identified different strains of coronavirus. The coronavirus is not new to the world. They’re a large family of viruses that have been around for a long time. Many of them can cause a variety of illnesses, from a mild cough to severe respiratory illnesses. The new (or “novel”) coronavirus is one of several known to infect humans. It’s probably been around for some time in animals. Sometimes, a virus in animals crosses over into people. That’s what scientists think happened here. So this virus isn’t new to the world, but it is new to humans.  Coronaviruses have all their genetic material in something called RNA (ribonucleic acid). RNA has some similarities to DNA, but they aren’t the same.

When viruses infect you, they attach to your cells, get inside them, and make copies of their RNA, which helps them spread. If there’s a copying mistake, the RNA gets changed. Scientists call those changes mutations.

These changes happen randomly and by accident. It’s a normal part of what happens to viruses as they multiply and spread

Because the changes are random, they may make little to no difference in a person’s health. Other times, they may cause disease. For example, one reason you need a flu shot every year is that influenza viruses change from year to year. This year’s flu virus probably isn’t exactly the same one that circulated last year

 Human Coronavirus Types


Scientists have divided coronaviruses into four sub-groupings, called alpha, beta, gamma, and delta. Seven of these viruses can infect people:


1.     229E (alpha)- It contains four structural proteins, spike (S), membrane (M), small envelope (E) and the nucleocapsid (N) . Commonly associated with the common cold, which is typically characterized by rhinorrhea, nasal congestion, sore throat, sneezing, and cough that may be associated with fever.



2.     NL63 (alpha)- Human coronavirus NL63 (HCoV-NL63) is a member of the family Coronaviridae, genus Alphacoronavirus, and was first discovered in 2004. The genome of HCoV-NL63 is about 27 kb with a conserved gene order of 5′-orf1ab-spike (S)-orf3-envelope (E)-membrane (M)-nucleocapsid (N)-poly (A). Finally, five complete genome sequences of HCoV-NL63 were obtained using next-generation sequencing and Sanger sequencing methods together and were designated strains ChinaGD01 (27,531 bp), ChinaGD02 (27,516 bp), ChinaGD03 (27,516 bp), ChinaGD04 (27,532 bp), and ChinaGD05 (27,544 bp).



3.     OC43 (beta)- Human coronavirus OC43[1] (HCoV-OC43) is a member of the species Betacoronavirus 1, which infects humans and cattle. Four HCoV-OC43 genotypes (A to D) have been identified, with genotype D most likely arising from genetic recombination


4.     HKU1 (beta)- Human coronavirus HKU1 (HCoV-HKU1) is a species of coronavirus in humans. It causes an upper respiratory disease with symptoms of the common cold, but can advance to pneumonia and bronchiolitis. It was first discovered in January 2004 from one man in Hong Kong. Subsequent research revealed it has global distribution and earlier genesis.


5.     MERS-CoV, a beta virus that causes the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS)- EMC/2012 (HCoV-EMC/2012), is a species of coronavirus which infects humans, bats, and camels. The infecting virus is an envelopedpositive-sensesingle-stranded RNA virus which enters its host cell by binding to the DPP4 receptor. The species is a member of the genus Betacoronavirus and subgenus Merbecovirus.



6.     SARS-CoV, a beta virus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)- Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV or SARS-CoV-1) is a strain of the virus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). It is an envelopedpositive-sensesingle-stranded RNA virus that infects the epithelial cells within the lungs. The virus enters the host cell by binding to angiotensin-converting enzyme 2. It infects humansbats, and palm civets.


7.     SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19- Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)  is the strain of coronavirus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the respiratory illness responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic. Colloquially known as simply the coronavirus, it was previously referred to by its provisional name2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), and has also been called human coronavirus 2019 (HCoV-19 or hCoV-19. SARS-CoV-2 is a Baltimore class IV positive-sense single-stranded RNA virus that is contagious in humans


As coronavirus keeps spreading around the world, it will probably keep changing. Experts may find new strains. It’s impossible to predict how those virus changes might affect what happens. But change is just what viruses do.

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