Coronavirus is mutating, but it's not a bad thing


As we write this, the novel coronavirus has already impacted more than 23 million people globally and resulted in 803,551 deaths around the world. While scientists and researchers are racing against time to develop a vaccine to contain the spread of the pandemic, there have been reports doing rounds about the mutation of the novel contagion and its impact on the efficacy of the vaccines.

01/ ‘D614G’ strain is 10 times more infectious

The increasingly common mutation of the novel coronavirus ‘D614G ’ was first detected in the month of February in Europe and became one of the most dominant strains of the novel contagion. According to a report published in BBC, this strain was observed in almost 97 per cent samples across the world. Studies have also shown that this widespread strain is also ten times more infectious than the original Wuhan-1 strain of the novel coronavirus.

02/ Why do scientists feel that this mutation won’t impact vaccine development?

Since the mutation in D614G happens in the viral spike protein which the virus uses to bind to the human cells, there have been increased speculations about the impact of the mutation on the efficacy of the immune response induced by potential vaccines. Experts, however, believe that the mutation in D614G is unlikely to have a major effect on the efficacy of the vaccines as it does not impact the receptor-binding domain, which is present at the tip of the spike protein. For the unversed, it is the receptor-binding domain of the spike protein which actually binds to the receptors of the human cells.

03/ The virus may become ‘less deadly’ as it mutates: Experts

It should be noted that the World Health Organization maintains that there is no evidence that mutation in the novel coronavirus is leading to more severe COVID-19 infections. As per agency reports, experts believe that this D614G mutation of the novel coronavirus may be less virulent as its “rapid increase in some parts of the world has coincided with a drop in death rate.”

Paul Tambyah, senior consultant at the National University of Singapore and president-elect of the International Society of Infectious Diseases told Reuters, “Maybe that's a good thing to have a virus that is more infectious but less deadly.”

"It is in the virus' interest to infect more people but not to kill them because a virus depends on the host for food and for shelter," he added.

04/ ​Why do viruses mutate?

It should be noted that mutating is the basic nature of viruses as it is a part of their life cycle. The SARS-CoV-2 is a single-stranded RNA virus and when the virus enters the cells of the human body, it starts making new copies of itself to infect the other cells. Now, when the virus replicates, it starts making mistakes in its genomes. This permanent change in the RNA sequence of the virus results in a permanent mutation.

from LifeStyle
Coronavirus is mutating, but it's not a bad thing Coronavirus is mutating, but it's not a bad thing Reviewed by streakoggi on August 22, 2020 Rating: 5
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