The corona virus struck East Asia about 25,000 years ago, leaving traces in the DNA of people from present-day China, Japan and Vietnam, new research has shown.
A study published in the journal Current Biology has revealed evidence of genetic adaptation to the coronavirus family in 42 genes in the population of that part of the world.
The Svid -Kov-2 virus pandemic 19 has so far claimed 3.8 million lives and caused billions of dollars in economic damage.
Coronaviruses include SARS and MERS , both viruses that have also caused epidemics in the last 20 years.
Pandemics are certainly not new. In the 20th century alone, mankind faced three variants of the influenza virus, each of which caused widespread infections with deaths that measured in the millions.
Spanish flu from 1918 to 1920, Asian flu from 1957 to 1958 and Hong Kong fever from 1968 to 1969.
Historical evidence of epidemics stretches back thousands of years, and it is quite possible that such interactions between pathogens and humanity occurred in the earliest periods of human existence, during prehistory.
Moving in search of better living conditions, people inevitably came into contact with new pathogens. These ancient encounters with viruses led to genetic adaptations that enabled our ancestors to survive.
Over the past few decades, geneticists have devised powerful tools to detect traces on genes, created as a result of adapting our genes.
A team of scientists from the Australian National University wanted to determine whether any contact with coronaviruses throughout history has left traces in today’s population.
Viruses are simple organisms with one goal – to copy. Their simple biological structure limits them and they cannot reproduce on their own. Instead, they have to infiltrate the cells of other organisms and hijack their molecular “machinery.”
Signs of ancient coronaviruses
Using state-of-the-art genome analyzes of more than 2,500 people from 26 different populations around the world, the scientists found genetic adaptations to 42 human genes that contain information about VIPs.
The VIPs on them are present in only five of today’s populations and they are all from East Asia – from where the coronaviruses most likely spread. Research has shown that the ancestors of modern East Asians were originally exposed to coronaviruses about 25,000 years ago.
Further studies showed that all 42 VIPs were primarily located in the lungs, the tissue most commonly affected by coronaviruses. These proteins have also been found to interact directly with the Sars-Kov-2 virus.
Other studies have shown that various mutations in VIP genes affect the body’s susceptibility to Sars-Kov-2 and the intensity of covid symptoms.