Did The Omicron Variant Evolve In An Animal Species?

Did The Omicron Variant Evolve In An Animal Species?

Whenever Covid-19 variations appear, conventional thinking holds that the changes they include originated in an immunocompromised individual who got the virus but could not get rid of it. However, some researchers believe that the current variation of worry, Omicron, may well have obtained the unique alterations that stud its spike protein through a different route. They hypothesize that the virus may have developed in a different animal species.

A species of animal, maybe rats, got infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus approximately in mid-2020, according to the notion. The virus developed in this new species, collecting around 50 mutations upon that spike protein until resurfacing in humans.

Zoonotic event

Kristian Andersen, a professor in the Department of Immunology and Microbiology at Scripps Research, is one among the people who believe Omicron developed from a reversed zoonotic occurrence. A zoonotic occurrence occurs when an animal pathogen infects and spreads to humans.  A reversed zoonosis occurs when a virus spreads from one animal species to another.

“I know that most people think that these [come from] immunocompromised individuals, and I do think that that’s plausible, but to be perfectly honest, I actually think this reverse zoonosis followed by new zoonosis seems more likely to me given just the available evidence of the really deep branch, and then the mutations themselves, because some of them are quite unusual,” Andersen declared.

A handful of other experts who research viral evolution don’t rule out the possibility. Some believe that variations emerge in immunocompromised persons, whereas others believe that there are not sufficient data to support one alternative over another at this time.

This view is based on one of SARS-2’s distinctive characteristics. It is an opportunistic virus, meaning it may infect a variety of animals, according to virologists. Domestic cats and dogs. Cats of a large size. Mink. Deer with a white tail. Considering how quickly the virus appears to transfer from one species to the next, researchers expect this list to increase.


Anna Daniels

Anna is an avid blogger with an educational background in medicine and mental health. She is a generalist with many other interests including nutrition, women's health, astronomy and photography. In her free time from work and writing, Anna enjoys nature walks, reading, and listening to jazz and classical music.

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