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SARS-CoV-2 Insists on Making a Name for Itself
Up until February 11, the same day that the disease caused by the coronavirus was named COVID-19 by the World Health Organization (WHO), the virus itself was referred to as 2019-nCoV. The announcement of the new name—SARS-CoV-2—came in the form of a bioRxiv preprint from the Coronaviridae Study Group (CSG) of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses.
Now, the group’s work is explained more fully in a Nature Microbiology paper titled, “The species Severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus: classifying 2019-nCoV and naming it SARS-CoV-2” In this paper, the CSG noted that “based on phylogeny, taxonomy, and established practice, the CSG recognizes this virus as forming a sister clade to the prototype human and bat severe acute respiratory syndrome coronaviruses (SARS-CoVs) of the species Severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus, and designates it as SARS-CoV-2.” They also noted that, in order to facilitate communication, individual isolates should be named using the convention, SARS-CoV-2/host/location/isolate/date.
Currently available data characterizing SARS-CoV-2 indicate that the disease traits and transmission may vary from those reported for SARS-CoV. The authors propose that the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 should be considered completely independent from the SARS-CoV outbreak in 2002–2003. However, they emphasize that the two viruses are genetically closely related, and recommend studying the relationships of viruses within this species to help us to understand more about the biology and evolution of these human pathogens and their closest coronavirus relatives infecting bats and other animals.
Although some have expressed that the naming of disease and virus could have had more coordination, the initial confusion seems to have settled and people have readily adopted that the SARS-CoV-2 virus causes the disease COVID-19.
India’ s 1st Corona images show it’s round with cobbled surface
Studying the structure is crucial to understanding the origin and, eventually, develop vaccines to counter it. In the long run, it also helps understand its evolutionary relationship with other viruses. In this sample, two structural features specific to the novel coronavirus were observed.
When compared to other human viruses and coronaviruses, the report said, this sample had a shorter envelope (within which lies a long strand of RNA genome), at about 15 nanometre. However, that can be confirmed only when a sample is taken from a cell culture, it added.
The other feature was that peplomers, spike proteins on its surface that give it the name ‘coronavirus’ because of the crown-like structure, were found to have aggregated. In the common flu virus, these appear triangular in shape. Five distinct peplomers were imaged and a ‘stalk’ connecting the peplomer to the surface of the virus. The spikes are how the virus latch on to human cells and enter them. Further studies into the structure of the stalk could help understand the genomic structure of the virus.
Montana Research Lab In US Releases Latest Detailed Images Of SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus.
The new digitally colorized images illustrate the crown-like appearance of the new coranovirus, officially called SARS-CoV-2 due to its similarity to the 2002 SARS virus.
According to the researchers the new coronavirus is notably similar in appearance to both the MERS and SARS viruses.
The detailed images highlight the spikes covering the coronavirus, an iconic feature of coronaviruses that led to its virus family name, corona being Latin for "crown." The images have been digitally colored in order to help visually separate the virus from surrounding cells and illustrate how the virus replicates and emerges from the surface of cells during research.
This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses.
Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed electron microscopically.
A novel coronavirus, named Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China in 2019.