According to a study, researchers have found that the novel coronavirus jumped from bats to humans with "very little change", which suggests that the ability of the virus to spread from one person to another likely evolved in the flying mammal prior to it jumping to its new human host.
The findings has been published in the journal PLOS Biology, evaluated hundreds of thousands of sequenced genomes of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and found that for the first 11 months of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been very little 'important genetic change' observed in the coronavirus. It is also noticed that some changes such as the D614G mutation and similar tweaks in the virus spike protein has affected its biology.
Scientists has also analyses the mutations undergone by the novel coronavirus and related sarbecoviruses (the group of viruses the COVID virus belongs to) from bats and pangolins and found evidence of fairly significant change, but all before the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 in humans.
The researchers said SARS-CoV-2 came with a ready-made capability to infect humans and other mammals, with these properties likely evolving in bats prior to it jumping to humans.
The novel coronavirus is still cleared by the human immune response in the vast majority of infections, the scientists warned that it is now moving away faster from the January 2020 variant used in all of the current vaccines to raise protective immunity. The current vaccines will continue to work against most of the circulating variants, but as more time passes, and the bigger the differential between vaccinated and not-vaccinated numbers of people, there will be more opportunity for the virus to escape vaccines.