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Coronavirus being over by summer is 'naive' says expert

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Pangolins are the only mammal wholly-covered in scales; they’re referred to as “scaly anteaters” – and they’re one of the most trafficked mammals. Scientists warn that trade in pangolins could cause a risk to human life. Antoni Wrobel, co-lead author of the study, is undertaking postdoctoral training in the structural biology of diseases at The Francis Crick Institute. Wrobel, who has identified important structural similarities between SARS-CoV-2 and a pangolin coronavirus, said: “A pangolin virus could potentially infect humans.”

In the study, special attention was paid to the spike proteins found on SARS-CoV-2 – the virus that causes the disease COVID-19.

To date, allied health classes boston the only bat coronavirus that is the closest in structure to SARS-CoV-2 is RaTG13.

However, this bat coronavirus “could not effectively bind with human or pangolin receptors”.

Wrobel continued: “By testing if the spike protein of a given virus can bind with cell receptors from different species, we’re able to see if, in theory, the virus could infect this species.”

Interestingly, the pangolin coronavirus could bind to human receptors.

The researchers clarified that their work doesn’t confirm whether or not the pangolin virus is part of the evolutionary chain for SARS-CoV-2.

Donald Benton, another co-lead author of the study, commented on the findings.

“We still don’t have evidence to confirm the evolutionary path of SARS-CoV-2,” he said.

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Their work can’t prove that this virus did pass through pangolins to humans.

Benton added: “However, we have shown that a pangolin virus could potentially jump to humans.

“We urge caution in any contact with this species and the end of illegal smuggling and trade in pangolins to protect against this risk.”

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) stated the species are in “high demand” in China and Vietnam, where their meat is considered a delicacy.

International law is in force to protect pangolins, but illegal smuggling still takes place.

SARS-CoV-2 is zoonotic, meaning it can jump from species to species, and the virus is mutating all the time.

The Kent B117 variant spreads twice as fast as the original coronavirus, and it now contains the E484K mutation.

The New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG) has labelled it “a variant of concern”.

Professor Ravi Gupta of the Cambridge Institute for Therapeutic Immunology and Infectious Diseases is a member of NERVTAG.

He explained the new strain has a “vaccine escape mutation” (E484K) and can spread super fast.

“That’s certainly a bit of a danger sign for me,” Professor Gupta expressed.

However, he wanted to make clear that “vaccines are still going to protect people from severe illness”.

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