Coronavirus Genome

SARS-CoV-2 Genome: Bad News Wrapped in Protein

Nobel Prize winning biologist Sir Peter Medawar (with Jean Medawar) famously said in Aristotle to Zoos: A Philosophical Dictionary of Biology, 1983 (p. 275),

No virus is known to do good: it has been well said that a virus is "a piece of bad news wrapped up in protein."

In January 2020, scientists deciphered a piece of very bad news: The genome of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. The sample came from a 41-year-old man who worked at the seafood market in Wuhan where the first cluster of cases appeared.

Researchers are now racing to make sense of this viral recipe, which could inspire drugs, vaccines and other tools to fight the ongoing pandemic.

Edited and paraphrased text and images from the original Bad News Wrapped in Protein: Inside the Coronavirus Genome, by Jonathan Corum and Carl Zimmer, April 3, 2020.