COVID-19 Is Mutating, Is It More Dangerous?
Researchers found out that COVID-19 is changing its genetic make-up slightly and it also changes small parts of its genetic codes all the time according to a recently published article.
COVID-19 continues to ravage a person's life in almost all parts of the world. At present, there are more than 400,000 cases of individuals who are positive for the virus across the globe and with an increasing death of more than 21,000 according to worldometer.
VIEW OF RESEARCHERS ABOUT THE GENETIC MUTATION OF COVID-19
Marc Lipsitch, an infectious disease epidemiologist at Harvard University, said that the virus in the literal sense is changing genetically. The question that is now asked is whether the genetic mutation of the virus carries more harmful and dangerous effects on humans.
According to Ewan Harrison, a scientific project manager for the COVID-19 Genomics UK Consortium, viruses mutate naturally as part of their life cycle. This means that COVID-19 is just like any virus where it changes its genetic codes all the time.
COVID-19 is an RNA virus just like flu and measles. This means that a virus like this can be transmitted to another person through droplets or it can be inhaled by others that cause infections.
Harrison added that sometimes viruses make mistakes in their genomes as they replicate themselves. Moreover, this also somehow helped the researchers to trace the pathway of the virus through groups of people.
However, for Vineet Menachery who is a virologist at the University of Texas Medical Branch that COVID-19 differs from other flu viruses because they proofread their own genomes when they replicate themselves. He said: "They maintain this ability to keep their genome pretty much intact. The mutations that they incorporate are relatively rare."
DOES THE MUTATION CARRY MORE HARMFUL EFFECTS TO HUMANS?
It was clarified by March Lipsitch that there is "no credible evidence of a change in the biology of the virus either for better or for worse."
However, there are researchers also who are on the alert on the mutation of the virus because the changes in the virus might affect a person who is positive for COVID-19. One very significant example of this is that the virus can block parts of a person's immune system and it could hide out in a person's body and establish itself better.
According to Justin Bahl, an Evolutionary Biologist at the University of Georgia, "The viruses themselves are not actually under much pressure to change." This simply means that the virus does not need to become more potent to survive and thrive.
There are still many things that most of us including researchers and scientists do not about this new virus. It is no wonder anymore why there are many researches conducted worldwide about how this virus behaves.
In the meantime, infectious disease experts said that there is nothing to worry about because the mutation of the virus normally happens and there is no credible evidence yet if these changes will either worsen the health status of a person carrying it or not.
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