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Study Shows COVID-19 Virus Not Likely To Integrate Human DNA

Majid Kazemian

Kazemian is one of 12 researchers who participated in the study, and one of six Purdue professors involved. (Courtesy: Purdue University )

According to a study in the Journal of Virology last month, SARS-CoV-2 likely does not integrate its genetic material into human DNA.

If the virus could integrate the human genome, it would join about 100,000 other pieces of virus DNA humans have accumulated over millions of years. In total, this makes up less than 10% of the genetic material in our cells and might stay with humans forever.

Majid Kazemian is a co-lead author of the study and assistant professor of biochemistry and computer science at Purdue University. He says it is possible for viruses like HIV and Hepatitis B to integrate into the human genome, resulting in what scientists call “chimeric events.”

However, when researchers amplified SARS-CoV-2 genetic material by 30-fold, they did not observe any chimeric events.

“What we have found is that the current data by no means supports integration events that were suggested for this particular virus to the genome,” Kazemian said.  

The findings contradict a separate study which observed the SARS-CoV-2 virus causing a chimeric event in a petri dish. This made some people skeptical of mRNA vaccines because they contain part of the virus; however, Kazemian believes they are safe.

“There is absolutely no evidence of such an event happening in patients and absolutely no concern regarding this aspect of mRNA vaccines,” he said.

Kazemian is one of 12 researchers who participated in the study, and one of six Purdue professors involved.

For the latest news and resources about COVID-19, bookmark our Coronavirus In Indiana page here

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