East Asia was hit by another coronavirus epidemic 20,000 years ago, new study shows – CNN

A team of scientists from Australia and the United States has discovered proof of a coronavirus epidemic that broke out more than 20,000 years back in East Asia, according to a research study released in the Current Biology scientific journal on Thursday.In the research study, the researchers studied the genomes of more than 2,500 individuals from 26 different populations all over the world. They determined the earliest interaction of the human genome with coronaviruses, which left hereditary imprints on the DNA of modern-day individuals in East Asia.The genomes they studied include evolutionary details about humans tracing back hundreds of thousands of years, stated lead author Yassine Souilmi– info weve just learned to decode in current years.Viruses work by making copies of themselves. They dont have their own tools to do the duplication. “So they actually depend upon a host, whichs why they attack a host and then they hijack their machinery to develop copies of themselves,” Souilmi said.That hijacking of human cells leaves a mark we can now observe– offering concrete proof our ancestors were once exposed to and adapted to coronaviruses.In the genomes, scientists found these hereditary signals connected to a coronavirus in 5 various populations located in China, Japan and Vietnam. The epidemic could have spread further beyond these nations, Souilmi included, however data isnt available in other parts of the area, so theres no chance of knowing.From these populations, Souilmi said the scientists discovered an affected group developed an advantageous anomaly which helped to secure them from the coronavirus. Those with the anomaly had “an edge” in survival, he said– implying over time, the population was comprised of more people with the mutation than without.”Over an extended period of time, and along the direct exposure, this leaves a really, very clear marking in the genomes of their descendants,” Souilmi said. “And thats the signature we in fact utilize to find this ancient epidemic, and also the timing of this ancient epidemic.”The research study said the coronavirus plague occurred independently among various areas and spread throughout East Asia as an epidemic. Scientists do not understand how ancient individuals lived through the epidemic, partially due to the fact that it wasnt clear whether it was something seasonal like an influenza, or continuous– like the Covid-19 pandemic– that infects people and keeps spreading all the time.