DDI Genomics team prove that SARS-COV-2 virus has been recombining as early as March 2020

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Genomics and Bioinformatics Department members were able to prove that different strains or variants of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus are co-infecting and combining their genomes in one patient. This means that instead of one mutation in the virus, you have multiple mutations combined. This “recombination” process can result in more dangerous viral strains that can spread faster and worsen COVID-19 symptoms.

The team analyzed the viral sequences from Kuwait and other sequences uploaded by many research groups from different parts of the world. Recombination events were detected only in samples from patients in Europe and North America, but not in the rest of the continents. This work was done on the sequences that were available in April 2020 but making these observations, the team knew that it was only a matter of time before more strains start emerging from different countries. And unfortunately, they were right, new recombined strains emerged later in South Africa, Brazil and now wrecking through India. This study is published in PLOS ONE.

Haddad D, John SE, Mohammad A, Hammad MM, Hebbar P, et al. (2021) SARS-CoV-2: Possible recombination and emergence of potentially more virulent strains. PLOS ONE 16(5): e0251368. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0251368

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