To Be Continued? Scientists Finding 9 New Coronaviruses as Pandemic Persists

CC0 / Pixabay / coronavirus
coronavirus - Sputnik International, 1920, 29.01.2022
Researchers used a supercomputer to process ribonucleic acid (RNA) sequencing data from a whopping 5.7 million biological samples. They described the 11-day collection of the data as something that came from "every continent and ocean, and all kingdoms of life”.
It seems the news won’t be music to the ears of those who eager to see the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, which sadly shows no signs of slowing. An international team of scientists has discovered nine new species of coronavirus, with some of them tracked in somewhat unexpected places, including ice-core samples and animal dung.
In a study led by researchers from the University of British Columbia (UBC) and published in the journal Nature, scientists pointed out that the discovery was part of their breakthrough efforts to explore ribonucleic acid (RNA) sequencing data and spot 10 times more RNA viruses than were previously known.
According to the researchers, a total of 132,000 RNA viruses have been found from 5.7 million biological samples with the help of a "ridiculously powerful" supercomputer built by UBC and Amazon Web Services within the framework of the so-called Serratus Project. For comparison, only 15,000 such viruses were known before the project.
The team noted in the research that “an important limitation for these analyses is that the nucleic acid reads do not prove that viral infection has occurred in the nominal host species. For example, we identified five libraries in which a porcine, avian, or bat coronavirus was found in plant samples”.
UBC expressed hope that their research will help "pave the way to rapidly identify virus spillover into humans”, while the Serratus Project database, now available to everyone, can be used to identify viruses impacting livestock, crops, and endangered species.
Medical workers in protective suits attend to novel coronavirus patients at the intensive care unit (ICU) of a designated hospital in Wuhan, Hubei province, China, February 6, 2020.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 29.09.2021
Study Shows Massive Drop in Life Expectancy Due to Covid-19 Pandemic
The study’s lead author Artem Babayan for his part underlined that the scientific world is “entering a new era of understanding the genetic and spatial diversity of viruses in nature, and how a wide variety of animals interface with these viruses”.

“The hope is we’re not caught off guard if something like SARS-CoV-2—the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19— emerges again. These viruses can be recognised more easily and their natural reservoirs can be found faster. The real goal is these infections are recognised so early that they never become pandemics”, he stressed.

Coronaviruses refer to a large family of viruses that are named so because of the crown-like spikes on their surface and which usually prompt mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses, like the common cold.
There are hundreds of coronaviruses, with most of them circulating among animals such as pigs, camels, bats, and cats. Such viruses can sometimes spread to humans in what is known as a spillover event. The novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 emerged in December 2019 in China and was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organisation on 11 March 2020.
To participate in the discussion
log in or register
Заголовок открываемого материала