Coronavirus mutated minimally since December 2019. This gives hope that one effective vaccine will be enough to fight the coronavirus. According to the research, Sars-CoV-2 does not adapt to the human body, and mutations occur due to random failures.
Does the coronavirus mutate?
As mentioned above, the genetic variability of Sars-CoV-2 is very low. All scientists refute the fact that coronavirus mutates rapidly. Despite some changes in genome, the virus does not acquire new features.
Such mutations are natural for many alive organisms, especially for viruses. The first genome of the Sars-CoV-2 was named Wuhan-1 and consisted of 30,000 special letters. During the pandemic, scientists discovered about 100 thousands new coronavirus genomes in patients who passed the Blood test for coronavirus around the world. Studies have shown that the genomes of two different viruses in people from different countries differed by only about 10 letters. This is a very small part of the genome, which shows that all they belong to the same virus series with the same symptoms.
However, not everything goes well. Scientists have discovered an amino acid change in one of the important proteins of Sars-CoV-2. This protein gives the virus its special crown shape. That mutation was named D614G. This kind of change alerted scientists, since it increases the infectivity of the virus in human body cells. However, this does not affect the severity of the disease.
Some replacements in the additional genes named Orf7b or Orf8 reduce the activity of the virus. In this case, mutated coronavirus symptoms are milder. This confirms the fact that most often mutations make the virus non-functional.
Will the vaccine help with the COVID-19 treatment?
According to the very low and insignificant variability of the virus genome, any coronavirus vaccine will be effective for all virus derivatives. Sometimes an internal change in the virus makes it harder to create a vaccine, as has happened with the flu or HIV. However, Sars-CoV-2 is less active and diverse in mutations. Therefore, scientists are optimistic. Vaccine development continues. By early 2021, scientists predict the first experimental vaccine.
Although some changes in the virus genome may still appear, all available data proves that the new coronavirus mutated is the same as at the pandemic beginning.