The mutation of the coronavirus, which began the infection of people

During their work, the authors studied more than 1.7 million samples of coronavirus: they compared their typical

sets of mutations and highlighted the variations in the structure of the RNA of the virus that were characteristic of almost all varieties of SARS-CoV-2.

As a result, scientists drew attention to the T403R mutation: it was located in that part of the genome of the causative agent of COVID-19, which controls the production of a key element of its envelope, or S-protein.

The mutation is responsible for the penetration of the virus into the infected cell. When the S-protein binds to the ACE2 receptors on its surface and creates a hole in its membrane, the virus enters the cell through it.

The envelope proteins of the novel coronavirus and the virusRaTG13 bats are very similar in structure, but the latter cannot effectively penetrate human cells. We have shown that when a single point mutation appears in the genome, T403R, which is characteristic of virtually all strains of SARS-CoV-2.

Research text

During the experiment, a virus with such a mutation was able to enter human cells from a bat, while continuing to infect both humans and animals.

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