Highly Unlikely That Coronavirus Genes Can Integrate Into Hu
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New research shows that Covid-19 causing virus, Sars-CoV-2, cannot integrate its RNA to human genes. This finding refutes the controversial claim that the pandemic-causing virus was able to insert its genetic material into human DNA. The earlier study showed that when human cells were tested in Petri dishes, the virus' genetic material was found to slip into human chromosomes.

The integration could indicate that people found positive after having recovered from COVID-19 were not re-infected but the alarms were coming from the modified human DNA. However, the new study could not find data to support this claim. "SARS-CoV-2, like HIV, has its genetic material in the form of RNA but, unlike HIV, does not have the machinery to convert the RNA into DNA," says Ben Afzali, one of the co-authors of the study and an Earl Stadtman Investigator of the National Institutes of Health, United States.

According to Afzali, his research group did not think the result of the earlier study was likely."SARS-CoV-2 is unlikely to paste itself into the genome and coronaviruses, in general, do not go near human DNA. As our study shows, we find it highly improbable that SARS-CoV-2 could integrate into the human genome," he said in a news release by Purdue.

However, many viruses insert a chunk of their genetic material when they infect us. This has been ongoing for millions of years resulting in a modern human genome whose 10th part is made up of viral genetic material. Usually, new integrations are infectious, but over time they can mutate to being non-infectious and sometimes they can help our bodies develop better immune responses as well.

Human cells have a complicated relationship with these injected viral sequences, also known as endogenous retroviruses (ERVs) that can sometimes contribute to the beginning of cancer. However, in some cases, they protect human cells against cancer as well. For example, there is strong evidence that an ERV called ERV9 can detect cancer-related damage and prompt neighbouring DNA to direct the affected cells to commit suicide.

Source:
https://jvi.asm.org/content/early/2021/05/07/JVI.00294-21
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