Just One Vaccine Could Be Enough To End COVID-19, As The Virus Isn't Mutating Fast
While locked indoors due to COVID-19, the whole world is desperately looking for a solution to put an end to the deadly spread of the novel coronavirus.
Researchers have been trying to crack the code by studying the novel coronavirus’s genetics. And as per a recent report, COVID-19 isn’t mutating as quickly as we feared.
This is according to Peter Thielen, a molecular geneticist at John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in a conversation with Washington Post. He says that there are around four to ten genetic differences between the strains infecting people in the US when compared to the strains of the virus that wreaked havoc in Wuhan, Hubei province in China.
“That’s a relatively small number of mutations for having passed through a large number of people. At this point the mutation rate of the virus would suggest that the vaccine developed for SARS-CoV-2 would be a single vaccine, rather than a new vaccine every year like the flu vaccine.”
According to Thielen, the vaccine for COVID-19 would immunize patients in the long run, just like chickenpox and measles vaccines.
On the other hand, regular flu viruses are far more notorious. Benjamin Neuman of Texas A&M University at Texarkana told the Post, “flu does have one trick up its sleeve that coronaviruses do not have — the flu virus genome is broken up into several segments, each of which codes for a gene.”
He further added, “When two flu viruses are in the same cell, they can swap some segments, potentially creating a new combination instantly — this is how the H1N1 ‘swine’ flu originated.”
Thielen concluded stating, “So far we don’t have any evidence linking a specific virus [strain] to any disease severity score. Right now disease severity is much more likely to be driven by other factors.”
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