Friday, July 3, 2020

Coronavirus has undergone 198 possible mutations, new study says

The pandemic of COVID-19 started from a fish market back in Wuhan, China. Since then, the globe is experiencing a tough phase with the disease. Although we have gone through a lot of things on this journey, the disease brings about fascinating news every day, explaining the complexity of the disease. A new fascinating discovery is that is a disease is mutating into newer strains. This is of possible concern because it will become increasingly difficult for us to tackle the disease.

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The study

A new study from the University College shows us that the virus has already undergone 198 possible mutations. The study suggests that this shows that the virus is adapting itself to its human host. Furthermore, these mutations will help us in designing vaccines and drugs against the virus. It is said that the “spike” region, against which most vaccines are targeted, undergoes higher rates of mutation.

Another study in the US suggests that one form of such a mutated station is causing more trouble to affected people. The mutation is going by the name D614G, begun reading in Europe in early February. It is said that this mutated virus becomes dominant whenever introduced in new places. Moreover, the study has also identified 14 mutations occurring in the spike regions of the virus. With the urgent need in developing vaccines against the virus. Scientists are primarily targeting the “spike” protein, which in turn might elicit neutralizing antibodies.

However, the major problem here is that the “spike” protein is based on the initial Wuhan counterpart. But this new mutation is becoming dominant in most parts of the world, including the United States. The dominant form is also possibly linked with the severe form of the disease. But further studies are needed to confirm this part.

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More vaccines are targetting the spike, which is becoming highly variable due to these mutations. This might render the vaccine to be less effective if variations occur. Therefore, the study suggests researchers to focus on the parts are that are more stable and do not undergo many mutational changes. This would help design vaccines that are stable and protect us from the disease.

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Sources: biorxiv , ScienceDirect

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