June 29, 2022

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Wuhan Virology Institute released 8 beta-coronavirus gene sequences

Wuhan Institute of Virology released another 8 beta-coronavirus gene sequences.

Wuhan Virology Institute released 8 beta-coronavirus gene sequences. On May 21, 2021, Shi Zhengli’s team from Wuhan Institute of Virology, China uploaded a preprinted paper on bioRxiv, which attracted widespread attention. This study reported the 9 beta-coronaviruses previously discovered by the group except for RaTG13. Viruses, thus dispelling a lot of speculation.

In this pre-printed paper, the group reported that 8 other beta-coronaviruses except RaTG13 have 99.7% gene sequence homology. Therefore, the research group selected RaTG15, a bat coronavirus strain (SARS). -rCoV) stands for these viruses.

RaTG15 has 77.6% gene sequence homology with SARS-CoV-2, which is lower than RaTG13. It has 74.4% gene sequence homology with SARS-CoV-1. Among them, in ORF1b region, RaTG15 has 97.2% amino acid sequence homology with SARS-CoV-2.

More interestingly, the RaTG15 receptor binding domain (RBD) binds to and uses Chinese chrysanthemum bat ACE2 (RaACE2) instead of human ACE2 as the receptor to enter the cell, so the affinity is still a certain distance from SARS-CoV-2.

The RBD of pangolin coronavirus PCoV is highly homologous to SARS-CoV-2 and can bind to human ACE2.
This study actually published the sequence information of the beta-coronavirus found in Tongguan Town, Mojiang County, Yunnan Province, except for RaTG13 that many people asked before.

Wuhan Virology Institute released  8 beta-coronavirus gene sequences

Editor’s note:

Let’s briefly review the bat coronaviruses previously reported by Shi Zhengli’s team.

Shi Zhengli’s research group reported in Nature in February 2020 that the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has 96.2% sequence homology with the bat coronavirus RaTG13.

For this reason, in November 2020, Shi Zhengli’s research group uploaded an appendix in Nature, detailing the whole process of her discovery of the bat coronavirus RaTG13. This finding was published in the “Chinese Virology” in 2016.

The origin of the coronavirus is traced back. Shi Zhengli updated the Nature appendix

In the updated appendix, this appendix reports that the laboratory collected 13 serum samples from 4 patients with severe respiratory diseases in the First Affiliated Hospital of Kunming Medical University from July 1 to October 1, 2012. These patients went to a cave in Tongguan Town, Mojiang County, Yunnan Province to clean up bat droppings in order to mine copper mines. These patients were admitted to the hospital for pneumonia on April 26-27, 2012. The hospital continuously collected samples of these patients from June to September.

After the COVID-19 outbreak, the research team tested these samples for antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid (which has more than 90% amino acid sequence homology with bat SARSr-CoV). These patient samples were negative, indicating that These patients have not been infected with SARS-CoV-2, and it is very likely that they have not been infected with SARSr-CoV from bats.

Between 2012 and 2015 when these cases were first discovered, the research team collected 1,322 animal samples in this cave 1-2 times a year and detected 293 highly diverse coronaviruses. According to the sequencing results of these viral RNA polymerases, the researchers found that 284 of them were alpha-coronaviruses and 9 were beta-coronaviruses. These nine beta-coronaviruses are all SARS-CoV family viruses, but they are not human SARS-CoV that infect humans (the RdRp sequence is very different), but SARSr-CoV that only infects bats.

The sample ID4991 was named Ra-TG-13 (Ra represents the source of the bat, TG represents the customs town, and 13 represents the discovery in 2013). This virus sequence was uploaded to GenBank in 2016 with ID KP876546. In 2018, the group sequenced the viral genome of RaTG13.

In 2020, after the discovery of SARS-CoV-2, the group compared the sequence of this virus with RaTG13 and found that the sequence homology between the two was 96.2%.

RaTG13 and SAR-CoV-2 are only highly homologous, but it takes 25 to 65 years to evolve from RaTG13 to 2019-nCoV; according to the just announced gene sequence, RaTG15 is obviously farther from SAR-CoV-2.

With the release of the genetic sequences of the remaining eight beta coronaviruses, conspiracy theories and various rumors should completely disappear.

Sum up:

The paper published by Shi Zhengli’s team is highly focused on bat coronaviruses.

From the 2006 paper, the research team discovered two SARS-like coronaviruses. Since then, the research team has been isolating and identifying SARS-like coronaviruses.

It’s just a pity that Wuhan has done so many studies on SARS-like coronaviruses. When the new type of coronavirus spreads among the Wuhan population, it is still difficult to diagnose and deal with it immediately.
This also shows the necessity for the country to establish a new “Disease Prevention and Control Bureau.” There is a need for an independent, professional and powerful agency to deal with public health incidents.

Shi Zhengli’s team focuses on coronavirus research, and many papers have been published in top journals such as Nature, Science, Cell, Lancet, and JAMA.

(source:internet, reference only)


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