What Researchers Explain About Coronavirus Mutations and Effect On the Virus Nature of Transmission ?
COVID-19 is yet non-treatable. No corona vaccines are available on the market. It is being commented that corona will remain forever. Scary! Do you know the reason behind this claim? Do your little minds ponder such a topic? Are you looking forward to the debate? Well! Hold on. I can answer you. “It is identified because the coronavirus genome is experiencing continuous mutations at the rate of 2/month. If somehow a vaccine is developed, it would not be treating the newly mutated forms.”
You might be wondering that do viruses mutate? Or if yes, then how corona went under mutations? What is the new mutated form of corona? How far precarious mutated coronavirus is?
Many controversial claims about changes are at the front and center in coverage of the coronavirus. Some claim that mutations have made the virus more contagious while others say that mutations do not have any consequences.
This article answers all such queries and many more. Read to clear your thoughts.
Do viruses mutate?
Throughout the virus’s evolution, habitually viruses mutate. As a result, it can alter the severity of the diseases they cause.
Ewan Harrison says that it’s the part of viruses’ nature to undergo mutations. The coronavirus follows the same nature. He further says that when a virus infects you, it travels to the cells and replicate. These copies then circulate through the body or are transmitted to other humans via methods like respiratory droplets.
When they replicate, they make mistakes in their genomes. The fluctuations occurred can add and bring over to future copies of the virus. Many of these mutations will not affect infected humans. But there are still chances that new mutations will change the nature of infection specifications.
Researchers reported a mutation in the genetic code of SARS-CoV-2. These changes are the mirror image of the ones observed in the 2003 SARS outbreak.
It is believed that SARS-CoV-2 initiated COVID-19. Researches have shown that 81 letters in the viruses’ genome had been deleted in the mutation.
Researchers reported that the mutations are least and are occurring at a relatively predictable rate. The rate is so steady that only one to two changes occur per month.
Is coronavirus becoming more transmissible?
In the early investigation, they recorded 14 mutations. Preliminary research from the US has proposed one specific mutation – D614G – is fetching dominance and could make the disease more transmissible. One team from University College London, 198 mutations were recorded. But none of them were of special concern.
According to WHO, the coronavirus has not mutated in any way that would implicitly alteration how rapidly it spreads or how brutally it can hurt humans. The scientists have observed no specific sign in the virus’s behavior. The arrangement was also not disturbed. These interpretations lead us to consider the virus is altering in its nature, has transformed in its transmission dynamics, or altered in its lethality.
The nature of RNA viruses differs from DNA. The RNA viruses don’t have “natural error checking”, so they mutate differently from DNA. It means that the code of the virus autocorrect itself. It features advantages and disadvantages in coronavirus.
The drawback is they attempt many errors and many of the viruses do not grow well or stay alive. Seldom, a mutation can lead to a virus clattering more effectiveness in the spread, or more lethal, or less active.
Viruses develop so they can live with humans. They become less severe to let their host live more. Letting the virus spread further. The changes in the virus were expected and will continue to evolve. Factually it is not mutating to make it more transmissible or severe.
Effects of mutations in the development of treatment and vaccines
Thousands of COVID-19 samples were observed, and they interpreted many changes. Experts concluded that these mutations can generate hurdles in achieving efficacy in vaccine development and treatment.
As the mutations occurring were already expected so, the pharmacologist and researchers are already accounting for such changes.
When in the Los Alamos paper, they tracked European mutations; they calculated it that the mutation was next to, but not directly on, the receptor-binding domain. It is a particular area on the virus’ protein shell. It is meant to start the first contact in attaching to human cells. The occurrence of such mutations raised concerns about antibody-based approaches and vaccine approaches. It is the reason; it could get harder for antibodies to recognize the virus. Researchers are not much worried about these alterations, as these mutations are not directly on the receptor-binding domain.
Interestingly, Pharmacologists manufacture vaccines in a manner that they target multiple sites on a virus. Hence, it is unlikely that a few random mutations can knock out their power entirely.
Coronavirus has made people go mad. And now the mutation story is provoking more fear in them. Getting panic is not the right solution, because experts are raising a green flag in response to new coronavirus mutations. All the recent and early studies made, concluded the same result that the newly mutated virus is less transmissible. Only one of the mutation chain is a threat, is more severe and more transmissible in nature. But early the proper nature would be interpreted to go for its prevention. Vaccine development is also on its way. Soon the world will lead a corona free life.