As per a new preliminary study by researchers from Nference, the new Omicron variant may have picked up genetic material from the virus that causes common cold. Researchers suggest that is the reason why it can have lower virulence and greater transmission rate as compared to other coronavirus variants.
Researchers analysed and found out a snippet of genetic code that is also present in the virus that causes cold. This mutation could have occurred in patients infected with Covid-19. This is not detected in other variants of Coronavirus. This study (read below) has not been peer-reviewed and is in preprint.
The “striking” similarity between Omicron and HCoV-229E could have made the former “more accustomed to human hosts” and likely to evade some immune system responses, said Venky Soundararajan, a biological engineer who co-wrote the study.
“By virtue of omicron adopting this insertion … it is essentially taking a leaf out of the seasonal coronaviruses’ page, which [explains] … how it lives and transmits more efficiently with human beings,” he said.
Scientists said that SARS-CoV-2 can infect people who are afflicted by other variants of coronavirus. Soundararajan said, gastrointestinal systems and lung cells can host both viruses’ types.