The ancestor of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 appeared about 40-70 years ago. This is evidenced by the results of a study by molecular biologists from China, the USA and Europe.
The findings are published July 28 in the journal Nature Microbiology.
The closest ancestor of SARS-CoV-2 was RaTG13. They split around 1948-1969. A little later, between 1952 and 1970, the ancestors of the causative agent COVID-19 and SARS were separated from each other.
Earlier in July, an international team of scientists led by neuroscientists from Harvard Medical School discovered why COVID-19 causes the sense of smell to disappear for a while.
It was previously thought that the virus infects cells in the upper part of the nasal cavity, preventing neurons from transmitting odor signals to the brain. However, new research disproves this. The changes are not associated with direct infection of neurons, but with the impact on the work of supporting cells, experts said. Thus, we can conclude that the coronavirus does not cause irreversible changes in neural networks, which can be considered good news, experts noted.
The spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which causes the COVID-19 disease, began in December 2019. The Chinese city of Wuhan became the hotbed of infection. For several months, the disease covered 213 countries of the world. On March 11, the World Health Organization declared a pandemic.