아래의 기사는 New York Times에 2시간 전에 발표된 것이다. 영문임으로 해독하시기 어려운 분을 위하여 한글로 번역해드리지 못함을 먼저 사과들입니다. 문론 그리 할 수는 있으나 내가 해야 할일과 그 시간 상으로 수고를 해야 하는 어려움이 있지요. 그리 해준다고 해도 고마워 할 분들도 그리 많지 않고 해서리...요점만 간추려서 전하고자 합니다. 삼가 양해를 구합니다.
무시기 이바구냐 하면, 미국의 동-서해안 도시들인 Seattle, WA와 New York, N.Y에서 코로나 virus병이 주로 창궐한 이유는 첫째로 태평양을 공유하는 중공의 우한폐렴에 그 근원지를 찾을 수 있다는 것이고, 대서양을 접한 대도시 뉴욕에서도 이 惡疾(악질)이 기승을 부리는 경로가 유럽, 특히 이태리를 꼽게 된다고.
그러나 여러 질병연구소에서 공통으로 발견하는 사실은 우한의 것과 이태리의 것은 그 genome의 경과, 다시 말해서 mutation이 다르게 변행해 왔다는 사실임에는 다른 의견이 있을 수 없다는 것이다. 이 virus가 시작된 장본동물은 중국 원산지인 말굽박쥐에서 시작되었다고 추정하는 바고, 그것이 어찌 어찌해서 사람이나 여타동물에게 전달되었다는 경로까지는 알게 되었으나 그 '어찌의 의문점'은 규명하지 못하고 있다.
어쨌던 원인을 제공한 출처가 그렇다는 것이다. 지내놓고 추측컨대, 中共의 시진핑이 최초로 괴이한 병, 즉 COVID-19으로 명명한 怪疾로 사람이 죽어나가는 현실에 경종을 울린 의사들을 처벌하고, 그 창궐하는 현장을 쉬쉬하며 입을 막지 못해서 병균자들이 유럽으로 미국으로 돌아다니게 한 罪를 묻지 않을 수 없다는 거...이 점에서는 문재인에게도 책임이 있다고 하겠다.
아무튼 Trump는 '별 것 아니다'라고 했다가 부랴부랴 인간관계를 차단하는 각종 명령을 내렸던 바, 그나마 약간의 통제가 이루어지고 있음을 다행으로 받아들이는 Wall街의 주식시장이 제 정신을 찾고 있다. 나 역시 상당한 금전 상의 손해를 보았지만, 세상일 그러하지만, Everything will pass soon enough란 지침 아래에서 내버두었더니 연일 본전을 찾아가는 희망 찬 나날을 맞고 있다.
별개의 이야기다 마는 인도의 변호사협회가 中共에게 책임을 물어서 2조딸라의 소송을 걸어놓고 있다고 하고, 미국 하원에서는 '국제법에서 각 나라들에게 부여해준 면책권을 철회하는 철회하자는 법안을 방금 상정했다고'... 이로써 이번 COVID-19사태로 세계가 멈추면서 당한 피해를 세계인들이 시진핑 공산당을 고소해서 피해보상을 청구하겠다고 나섰다고 한다.
어찌 보면 중국공산당 넘들이 서방국가를 엿먹이려고 이런 천인공로할 짓을 자행했다고 오해할 여지가 충분한지라, 이 통에 미국이 1.5 trillion의 공채상환을 거부할 心算(심산)이 엿보인다고나 할까? 무역전쟁으로 中共의 경제를 마비시키다 못해 이제는 아예 그 악질의 국가를 망쪼로 조져버릴 수도 있다는 생각이 든다. 그 통에 문빨갱이도 함께 골로 보내면 좋겠다 마는, 엿장수 맘대로 되는 일이 아닌 고로 일단 관망하는 수 밖에...
Most New York Coronavirus Cases Came From Europe, Genomes Show
Carl Zimmer 2 hrs ago
New research indicates that the coronavirus began to circulate in the New York area by mid-February, weeks before the first confirmed case, and that travelers brought in the virus mainly from Europe, not Asia.
Since the first genome of the coronavirus was sequenced in January, researchers around the world have sequenced over 3,000 more, some of which are genetically identical while others carry distinctive mutations.ⓒ National Institutes of Health/EPA, via Shutterstock Since the first genome of the coronavirus was sequenced in January, researchers around the world have sequenced over 3,000 more, some of which are genetically identical while others carry distinctive mutations.
“The majority is clearly European,” said Harm van Bakel, a geneticist at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, who co-wrote a study awaiting peer review.
A separate team at N.Y.U. Grossman School of Medicine came to strikingly similar conclusions, despite studying a different group of cases. Both teams analyzed genomes from coronaviruses taken from New Yorkers starting in mid-March.
Slide 1 of 50: Lily Haines (C) is hugged by her dad, Jeph Haines (L) and mom, Suzanne Haines, as she celebrates her sixteenth birthday on her apartment balcony, watching her friends drive by with signs and balloons, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Los Angeles, California, U.S., April 8, 2020. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholso
The research revealed a previously hidden spread of the virus that might have been detected if aggressive testing programs had been put in place.
On Jan. 31, President Trump barred foreign nationals from entering the country if they had been in China during the prior two weeks.
It would not be until late February that Italy would begin locking down towns and cities, and March 11 when Mr. Trump said he would block travelers from most European countries. But New Yorkers had already been traveling home with the virus.
“People were just oblivious,” said Adriana Heguy, a member of the N.Y.U. team.
Dr. Heguy and Dr. van Bakel belong to an international guild of viral historians. They ferret out the history of outbreaks by poring over clues embedded in the genetic material of viruses taken from thousands of patients.
Viruses invade a cell and take over its molecular machinery, causing it to make new viruses.
The process is quick and sloppy. As a result, new viruses can gain a new mutation that wasn’t present in their ancestor. If a new virus manages to escape its host and infect other people, its descendants will inherit that mutation.
Tracking viral mutations demands sequencing all the genetic material in a virus ? its genome. Once researchers have gathered the genomes from a number of virus samples, they can compare their mutations.
Sophisticated computer programs can then figure out how all of those mutations arose as viruses descended from a common ancestor. If they get enough data, they can make rough estimates about how long ago those ancestors lived. That’s because mutations arise at a roughly regular pace, like a molecular clock.
a man standing in front of a refrigerator: Adeline Danneels, left, a technician, and Sandrine Belouzard, virologist and researcher, at work at the Pasteur Institute of Lille, the first European organization to sequence the coronavirus genome, in February.ⓒ Sylvain Lefevre/Getty Images Adeline Danneels, left, a technician, and Sandrine Belouzard, virologist and researcher, at work at the Pasteur Institute of Lille, the first European organization to sequence the coronavirus genome, in February.
Maciej Boni of Penn State University and his colleagues recently used this method to see where the coronavirus, designated SARS-CoV-2, came from in the first place. While conspiracy theories might falsely claim the virus was concocted in a lab, the virus’s genome makes clear that it arose in bats.
There are many kinds of coronaviruses, which infect both humans and animals. Dr. Boni and his colleagues found that the genome of the new virus contains a number of mutations in common with strains of coronaviruses that infect bats.
The most closely related coronavirus is in a Chinese horseshoe bat, the researchers found. But the new virus has gained some unique mutations since splitting off from that bat virus decades ago.
a crab on a table: An apoptotic cell heavily infected with coronavirus, yellow.ⓒ National Institutes of Health/EPA, via Shutterstock An apoptotic cell heavily infected with coronavirus, yellow.
Dr. Boni said that ancestral virus probably gave rise to a number of strains that infected horseshoe bats, and perhaps sometimes other animals.
“Very likely there’s a vast unsampled diversity,” he said.
Copying mistakes aren’t the only way for new viruses to arise. Sometimes two kinds of coronaviruses will infect the same cell. Their genetic material gets mixed up in new viruses.
It’s entirely possible, Dr. Boni said, in the past 10 or 20 years, a hybrid virus arose in some horseshoe bat that was well-suited to infect humans, too. Later, that virus somehow managed to cross the species barrier.
“Once in a while, one of these viruses wins the lottery,” he said.
In January, a team of Chinese and Australian researchers published the first genome of the new virus. Since then, researchers around the world have sequenced over 3,000 more. Some are genetically identical to each other, while others carry distinctive mutations.
That’s just a tiny sampling of the full diversity of the virus. As of April 8, there were 1.5 million confirmed cases of Covid-19, and the true total is probably many millions more. But already, the genomes of the virus are revealing previously hidden outlines of its history over the past few months.
As new genomes come to light, researchers upload them to an online database called GISAID. A team of virus evolution experts are analyzing the growing collection of genomes in a project called Nextstrain. They continually update the virus family tree.
Cell samples to be infected with coronavirus at The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in Manhattan.ⓒ Victor J. Blue for The New York Times Cell samples to be infected with coronavirus at The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in Manhattan.
The deepest branches of the tree all belong to lineages from China. The Nextstrain team has also used the mutation rate to determine that the virus probably first moved into humans from an animal host in late 2019. On Dec. 31, China announced that doctors in Wuhan were treating dozens of cases of a mysterious new respiratory illness.
In January, as the scope of the catastrophe in China became clear, a few countries started an aggressive testing program. They were able to track the arrival of the virus on their territory and track its spread through their populations.
But the United States fumbled in making its first diagnostic kits and initially limited testing only to people who had come from China and displayed symptoms of Covid-19.
“It was a disaster that we didn’t do testing,” Dr. Heguy said.
A few cases came to light starting at the end of January. But it was easy to dismiss them as rare imports that did not lead to local outbreaks.
The illusion was dashed at the end of February by Trevor Bedford, an associate professor at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington, and his colleagues.
Using Nextstrain, they showed that a virus identified in a patient in late February had mutation shared by one identified in Washington on Jan. 20.
The Washington viruses also shared other mutations in common with ones isolated in Wuhan, suggesting that a traveler had brought the coronavirus from China.
With that discovery, Dr. Bedford and his colleagues took the lead in sequencing coronavirus genomes. Sequencing more genomes around Washington gave them a better view of how the outbreak there got started.
“I’m quite confident that it was not spreading in December in the United States,” Dr. Bedford said. “There may have been a couple other introductions in January that didn’t take off in the same way.”
As new cases arose in other parts of the country, other researchers set up their own pipelines. The first positive test result in New York came on March 1, and after a couple of weeks, patients surged into the city’s hospitals.
“I thought, ‘We need to do this for New York,’” Dr. Heguy said.
Dr. Heguy and her colleagues found some New York viruses that shared unique mutations not found elsewhere. “That’s when you know you’ve had a silent transmission for a while,” she said.
Dr. Heguy estimated that the virus began circulating in the New York area a couple of months ago.
And researchers at Mount Sinai started sequencing the genomes of patients coming through their hospital. They found that the earliest cases identified in New York were not linked to later ones.
“Two weeks later, we start seeing viruses related to each other,” said Ana Silvia Gonzalez-Reiche, a member of the Mount Sinai team.
Dr. Gonzalez-Reiche and her colleagues found that these viruses were practically identical to viruses found around Europe. They cannot say on what particular flight a particular virus arrived in New York. But they write that the viruses reveal “a period of untracked global transmission between late January to mid-February.”
So far, the Mount Sinai researchers have identified seven separate lineages of viruses that entered New York and began circulating. “We will probably find more,” Dr. van Bakel said.
The coronavirus genomes are also revealing hints of early cross-country travel.
Dr. van Bakel and his colleagues found one New York virus that was identical to one of the Washington viruses found by Dr. Bedford and his colleagues. In a separate study, researchers at Yale found another Washington-related virus. Combined, the two studies hint that the coronavirus has been moving from coast to coast for several weeks.
Sidney Bell, a computational biologist working with the Nextstrain team, cautions people not to read too much into these new mutations themselves. “Just because something is different doesn’t mean it matters,” Dr. Bell said.
Mutations do not automatically turn viruses into new, fearsome strains. They often don’t bring about any change at all. “To me, mutations are inevitable and kind of boring,” Dr. Bell said. “But in the movies, you get the X-Men.”
Peter Thielen, a molecular biologist at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, likes to think of the spread of viruses like a dandelion seed landing on an empty field.
The flower grows up and produces seeds of its own. Those seeds spread and sprout. New mutations arise over the generations as the dandelions fill the field. “But they’re all still dandelions,” Mr. Thielen said.
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While the coronavirus mutations are useful for telling lineages apart, they don’t have any apparent effect on how the virus works.
That’s good news for scientists working on a vaccine.
Vaccine developers hope to fight Covid-19 by teaching our bodies to make antibodies that can grab onto the virus and block its entry into cells.
Some viruses evolve so quickly that they require vaccines that can produce several different antibodies. That’s not the case for Covid-19. Like other coronaviruses, it has a relatively slow mutation rate compared to some viruses, like influenza.
As hard as the fight against it may be, its mutations reveal that things can be a whole lot worse.
Of course, the coronavirus will continue to mutate as long as it still infects people. It’s possible that vaccines will have to change to keep up with the virus. And that’s why scientists need to keep tracking its history.