New Delhi: A study has revealed that South East Asia was hit by a Coronavirus Epidemic 20,000 years ago. It arrived at these findings by tracking human genomes, as they contain evolutionary information and found 42 genes that evolved inresponse to the coronvirus epidemic.
The study titled ‘An ancient viral epidemic involving host coronavirus interacting genes more than 20,000 years ago in East Asia’ is published in the journal Current Biology.
“The study highlights the promise of evolutionary information to better predict the pandemics of the future. Importantly, adaptation to ancient viral epidemics in specific human populations does not necessarily imply any difference in genetic susceptibility between different human populations.”
Three coronaviruses namely - COVID-19, SARS and MERS have adapted to infect human population and cause severe respiratory disease, over the past 20 years. Each of these coronaviruses have jumped into our species from bats or other mammals.
The study also stated that socioeconomic factors like access to healthcare, testing, and exposure at work, play an important role in the epidemiology of the virus.
STUDY CAN HELP IN DEVELOPMENT OF COVID-19 DRUG
The study can help in the development of drugs for novel coronavirus or COVID-19. Yassine Souilmi, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Adelaide in Australia and a co-author of the new study says that the 42 genes that they studied and that have evolved in response to the ancient epidemic, can be studied by scientists to understand immune response and develop drugs for COVID-19.
“It’s actually pointing us to molecular knobs to adjust the immune response to the virus,” Dr Souilmi told the New York Times.