“The authors of the article have provided quite convincing evidence that Omicron has made a double jump,” Konstantin Krutovsky, professor of the Department of Genomics and Bioinformatics of SibFU, Professor of the University of Göttingen, noted in his conversation with Izvestia.
In the article, Chinese scientists drew attention to two mutations that only Omicron has and are absent from other strains.
“It is noteworthy that only Q493R and Q498R (Omicron mutations. – Izvestia) significantly increased the affinity (strength of binding interaction with mouse ACE2 (receptor, “entrance gate” for coronavirus), which corresponds to their detection in mouse-adapted variants of SARS-CoV-2,” the researchers noted.
Adapted viruses are viruses specially created in laboratories that can infect mice. Scientists have modified human SARS-CoV-2 with the help of directed mutagenesis. They took ordinary SARS-CoV-2 and transferred it from human cells to mouse cells, gradually increasing the infectivity.
Thus, several strains of “mouse” SARS-CoV-2 were created, the main mutations of which coincide with “Omicron”.