The Importance of Research on the Origin of SARS-CoV-2

Kenneth Lundstrom, Murat Seyran, Damiano Pizzol, Parise Adadi, Tarek Mohamed Abd El-aziz, Sk. Sarif Hassan, Antonio Soares, Ramesh Kandimalla, Murtaza M. Tambuwala, Alaa A. A. Aljabali, Gajendra Kumar Azad, Pabitra Pal Choudhury, Vladimir N. Uversky, Samendra P. Sherchan, Bruce D. Uhal, Nima Rezaei, Adam M. Brufsky

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
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The origin of the severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus causing the COVID-19 pandemic has not yet been fully determined. Despite the consensus about the SARS-CoV-2 origin from bat CoV RaTG13, discrepancy to host tropism to other human Coronaviruses exist. SARS-CoV-2 also possesses some differences in its S protein receptor-binding domain, glycan-binding N-terminal domain and the surface of the sialic acid-binding domain. Despite similarities based on cryo-EM and biochemical studies, the SARS-CoV-2 shows higher stability and binding affinity to the ACE2 receptor. The SARS-CoV-2 does not appear to present a mutational "hot spot"as only the D614G mutation has been identified from clinical isolates. As laboratory manipulation is highly unlikely for the origin of SARS-CoV-2, the current possibilities comprise either natural selection in animal host before zoonotic transfer or natural selection in humans following zoonotic transfer. In the former case, despite SARS-CoV-2 and bat RaTG13 showing 96% identity some pangolin Coronaviruses exhibit very high similarity to particularly the receptor-binding domain of SARS-CoV-2. In the latter case, it can be hypothesized that the SARS-CoV-2 genome has adapted during human-to-human transmission and based on available data, the isolated SARS-CoV-2 genomes derive from a common origin. Before the origin of SARS-CoV-2 can be confirmed additional research is required.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1203
Pages (from-to)1203
Number of pages4
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 22 Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the authors.

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • Coronavirus
  • Genome homology
  • Natural selection
  • Origin of SARS-CoV-2
  • Receptor binding domain
  • Zoonotic transfer


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