August 18, 2023
A research group led by Yoshiko Kawasaki (5th-year medical student), Assistant Professor Haruka Abe (currently Associate Professor at the Institute of Tropical Medicine, Vietnam), and Professor Jiro Yasuda at Department of Emerging Infectious Diseases, National Research Center for the Control and Prevention of Infectious Diseases, Nagasaki University / Department of Emerging Infectious Diseases, Institute of Tropical Medicine published a research paper on genome replication fidelity of SARS-CoV-2 in the online journal "Scientific Reports on August 11, 2023. This paper calculated and compared the mutation rates in genome replication of IAV and SARS-CoV-2 and revealed that the mutation rate of SARS-CoV-2 is about 1/24 of that of IAV.
Since the emergence of COVID-19, several SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) variants have emerged and spread widely. These variants are produced through replication errors of the viral genome by viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp).
Seasonal epidemics of influenza are also known to occur because of new variants of influenza A virus (IAV), which are generated by the introduction of mutations by viral RdRp with low fidelity. Variants with different antigenicities appear because of mutations in envelope glycoproteins. In this study, we calculated and compared the mutation rates in genome replication of IAV and SARS-CoV-2. Average mutation rates per passage were 9.01 × 10–5 and 3.76 × 10–6 substitutions/site for IAV and SARS-CoV-2, respectively. The mutation rate of SARS-CoV-2 was 23.9-fold lower than that of IAV because of the proofreading activity of the SARS-CoV-2 RdRp complex. Our data could be useful in establishing effective countermeasures against COVID-19.
Journal: Scientific Reports
Title: Comparison of genome replication fidelity between SARS-CoV-2 and influenza A virus in cell culture
Author information: Kawasaki, Y., Abe, H., and Yasuda, J.
This release is also available in Japanese.