How does a new corona virus mutate and does it become more dangerous over time?


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The world only found out about the existence of SARS-CoV-2 three months ago, but scientists have already made some assumptions about where it comes from and why it is so aggressive. One of the few good news after the angry pandemic is that individual corona viruses are inherently easy to destroy. Each virus particle is made up of a small set of genes encased in a fatty envelope that can be easily destroyed with soap – 20 seconds of thorough hand washing and the virus like never before. The results of numerous studies have also shown that the new corona virus does not survive longer than one day on cardboard and around two to three days on metal surfaces and plastic. In other words, CoVID-19 is a parasite that needs hosts to live and reproduce. But can it mutate and if so how?

Coronavirus has already mutated in two different ways, but what will happen next?

New corona virus is a puzzle for scientists

In our special material on one of the most important scientific discoveries in 2020 – the proof of the natural origin of the new corona virus – we spoke in detail about how the virus got into the host. In its form, a coronavirus is a ball with spikes (exactly the crown) that recognize and bind to a protein called ACE2 that is on the surface of our cells. This contact is the first step in the development of the disease. The clean and precise contours of the SARS-CoV-2 spikes enable the virus to adhere to ACE2 much more than its closest relatives, SARS and MERS. Today, researchers do not rule out that this is actually crucial for the transmission of the coronavirus from person to person.

There is another important feature. The corona virus spikes not only determine the outer surface of the cells, but also "crack" them and successfully get inside. According to scientists, according to The Atlantic, this is one of the most unusual properties of the new virus. However, this may mean that there may be no other mutations.

You can find more news about the new corona virus and other discoveries from the world of popular science on our channels in the channels in Google News and Yandex.Zen.

So CoVID-19 takes a close look

For example, most respiratory viruses tend to infect either the upper or lower respiratory tract. Upper respiratory tract infection usually spreads more easily, but is milder, while lower respiratory tract infection is more difficult to transmit but harder to carry. The new corona virus appears to infect both the upper and lower respiratory tract. This double blow can also explain why the virus spreads between people before symptoms appear: the new coronavirus is transmitted while it is in the upper airways, and when it falls into the lower airways, pneumonia develops. Much of the SARS-CoV-2 biology is still a mystery.

Upper respiratory tract – nasal and oral cavities, nasopharynx, pharynx
Lower respiratory tract – larynx, trachea, bronchi

How has CoVID-19 changed and will it change?

The virus has not undergone any major changes since the pandemic began. It mutates in the same way as all viruses. However, none of the more than 100 documented mutations has become dominant. The virus is surprisingly stable, considering how many transmission cases we see today. In addition, there is no evolutionary pressure on the virus – it is already transmitted perfectly. However, this does not mean that CoVID-19 does not mutate. Several samples of the SARS-CoV-2 virus isolated from infected people in Singapore lack some of the genes that have also disappeared from SARS – a severe acute respiratory syndrome – in the later stages of its 2003 epidemic However, reasons why some corona viruses are fatal and others are not are unclear.

Do you think a new corona virus will mutate in the future? Share your opinion in the comments to this article and with the participants in our telegram chat

A pandemic is bad, but it won't last forever

As a rule, most viruses with which mankind is familiar have the same goal – to reproduce themselves as efficiently as possible. So the death of an infected host does nothing but defeat to the virus – the virus dies along with the host. The cause of death is the body's immune response – sometimes the immune system struggles with the pathogen so aggressively that it damages healthy tissue. Roughly speaking, immunity becomes much more dangerous than the virus itself. According to Akiko Iwasaki of the Yale School of Medicine, every virus needs time to adapt to its new host. When viruses test us for the first time, they do not know what they are doing and therefore tend to cause unusual reactions in the body and cause death.

It is unknown whether the new corona virus has mutated in the meantime. Given the speed of its spread, its main goal – reproduction – is achieved. Therefore, we can assume that CoVID-19 is unlikely to mutate into an extremely dangerous strain with high mortality. Most likely, after a while and even after the invention of the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, it won't go anywhere. Many scientists believe that the virus will circulate among the population like normal SARS and seasonal flu. However, after the majority of the world's population has developed CoVID-19, this will no longer pose such a danger.