Study indicates protein mutation slows spread of coronavirus
There has never before been this kind of discovery made concerning the coronavirus group, which causes approximately one-third of the cases of the common cold. Health professionals believe that the virus is also connected to the irritation or development of various neurological diseases including Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis and encephalitis.
The study involved analyses of over 60 human respiratory tract samples taken from patients who have human coronavirus infections. The scientists found a mutation based on the S protein, which changes the ability of the virus to settle in nerve cells. This, in turn, is connected to the virulence of the virus.
"We noticed that the protein mutation did not affect the virus's ability to infect the central nervous system, but that the mutated virus was less pathogenic and neurovirulent, probably as a result of changes in the way it spread from neuron to neuron due to the action of cellular proteins known as proprotein convertases, which alter the structure of the viral protein," Pierre Talbot, the study's lead researcher, said. "Under these conditions, the coronavirus could more easily cause a persistent central nervous system infection. In virology, this phenomenon is known to trigger certain slow-developing neurological conditions or aggravate neurological diseases.”