Computational, Experimental, and Clinical Evidence of a Specific But Peculiar Evolutionary Nature of (COVID-19) SARS-CoV-2

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Pangolin, Intrinsic Disorder Protein, Nucleocapsid, Virulence, Shell, COVID, Coronavirus, Vaccine, Immune, Antibody, Shell, Nucleoprotein, Membrane, Matrix, Attenuate, Severe Acute Respiratory, Omicron

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The shell disorder models have predicted that SARS-CoV-2 is of a specific but peculiar evolutionary nature. All coronaviruses (CoVs) closely related to SARS-CoV-2 have been found to have the hardest outer shells (M protein) among CoVs. This hard shell (low M percentage of intrinsic disorder (PID)) is associated with burrowing animals, for example, pangolins, and is believed to be responsible for the high contagiousness of SARS-CoV-2 because it will be more resistant to antimicrobial enzymes found in saliva/mucus. Incoming clinical and experimental data do support this along with a prediction based on another aspect of the shell (N, inner shell) disorder models that SARS-CoV-1 is more virulent than SARS-CoV-2 because SARS-CoV-2 produces fewer virus copies in vital organs even if large amounts of infections particles are shed orally and nasally. A phylogenetic study using M reveals a closer relationship of SARS-CoV to pangolin-CoVs than the bat-RaTG13 found in Yunnan, China. Previous studies may have been confused by recombinations that were poorly handled. The shell disorder models suggest that a pangolin-CoV strain may have entered the human population in 2017 or before as an attenuated virus, which could explain why SARS-CoV is found to be highly adapted to humans.

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Journal of Proteome Research, v. 21, issue 4, p. 874-890