BHOPAL: A study by IIT-Indore has claimed the presence of over 5,600 mutations of the SARS-CoV-2 surface proteins in the world.
A team of researchers led by Dr Hem Chandra Jha (Assistant Professor at the Department of Biosciences and Biomedical Engineering, IIT-Indore) conducted the study between April 2020 and September 2020.
During the course of the study, the researchers studied around 21,000 sequencing results reported worldwide between January 2020 and July 2020. These sequencing results were sourced by the researchers from the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) in the US.
The research team put forward possible impacts of various mutations in SARS-CoV-2 on the infected host cell. The study mainly focused on the mutations from proteins present on the surface of the virus. The timeline of origin for some mutations which are observed in larger numbers was being studied.
According to Dr Jha, “SARS-CoV-2 contains three major types of proteins. One or more of these proteins, identified by the names Envelope (E), Membrane (M), and Spike (S), change over time. We have studied more than total of 21,000 protein sequences of the virus worldwide. This includes samples from UK, USA, India and other countries taken between January 2020 and July 2020.”
He further said “Our research revealed that a total of 5,647 mutations have been found so far. 42 mutants of E protein, 156 mutants of M, and 5449 mutants of S protein were identified in the study. It is clear that mutations are highest in S protein. The proteins that look like thorns on the outer shell of the virus are called S proteins. When a mutant changes its protein, its binding capacity also changes. That is why each variant virus affects the host differently. The virus's protein binds to the ACE-2 receptor found in the human body and infects people.”
It's the S protein (Spike Protein) only through which the deadly viral infection actually enters the human body and also plays the prime role in different variations of the virus happening presently.
The change in the protein of a virus changes the properties of the virus. It is only by changing the binding of this protein, the virus’s outbreak and its effect are varied. There are fair chances of these mutations being present in the Indian populations.