If one thing you must understand about the SARS-CoV-2 virus is that it mutates fast. Changing forms as it moves from one person to another. A lot of medical practitioners are concerned that these new variants, which are more transmissible and can now be found in countries such as the United Kingdom, the United States, South Africa, and many more countries, may be too strong to be weakened by the current COVID-19 vaccines. Many people who are recipients of the current COVID-19 vaccines are wondering if the vaccine will protect them from the new variants of the virus.
www.bosterbio.com thinks that there are possibilities that such questions as to whether or not we will be able to keep ahead of these new variants and the future ones will definitely come up.
HOW MUTATIONS OCCUR
Viruses don’t just mutate because they enjoy evolving. However, the continuous infection of people aids in its mutation. How? You may ask. Here’s how.
As the virus moves from one person to another, it samples its host and adapts to the environment it finds itself in. This adaptation, however, involves selecting changes from the new environment that makes it grow better. For this reason, it is of utmost importance that the coronavirus is closely monitored for mutations that can make it deadlier than it already is.
The SARS-CoV-2 virus is an RNA virus. This means that the genetic material of the virus is included in the RNA and not the DNA. RNA viruses are known to mutate faster than DNA viruses. These viruses, when making a copy of their genes, make making mistakes. This is the same thing you would see in a COVID-19 carrier. During this copying of genetic materials, some genomes pick up certain changes the help the virus survive better. Some examples of these changes include:
- Changes that allow the virus to invade a protein that your immune system is using to kill iI off.
- Changes that help it invade the antiviral drugs used against it.
- Changes that make it capable of invading a different cell type or species. This change aided the transfer of the SARS-CoV-2 virus from bats to humans.
As long as the change gives the mutants an upper hand, that change will automatically be selected. Once selected, the new variants with these change starts to outgrow the original parent virus. This is happening now with the new variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that have better growth properties.
Every COVID-19 patient has millions of virus particles in them, which have mutations that are particular to each one. The mutated virus particles with favorable growth properties are the ones that survive better during the pandemic and show up as new variants.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THESE VARIANTS
The two known variants are the U.K variant B.1.1.7 and the South African variant 501.V2.
The B.1.1.7 has been discovered to bind more tightly to the ACE2; a protein receptor on the surface of the human cells. While the 501.V2 variant has been discovered to have multiple mutations in it’s spike protein giving it the ability to evade an antibody response. There are no evidence that the mutations have made these variants deadlier than the parent virus but they may have acquired the ability to be easily transmitted.
THE EFFICACY OF THE CURRENT VACCINES AGAINST THE NEW VARIANTS
The COVID-19 vaccines induce the production of special antibodies by the immune system. These antibodies target and destroy the spike protein of the virus necessary for invading human cells.
The South African variant of coronavirus has been discovered to have multiple changes in its spike protein. These multiple changes may cause the vaccines to be less effective against these new strains of coronavirus. How terrifying is that? A less effective vaccine against a mutant virus.
Although researchers say that there is no need to panic as the leading producers of the vaccines are constantly monitoring the efficacy of the vaccines against the new variants to know when to tweak the properties of the vaccine for better results, there is still need to ensure lowered transmission.
Reduced transmission will lower the number of infections and these means less virus replications in humans. If there is no opportunity for the virus to mutate in more humans because of lowered transmission, the rate of the emergence of new variants is reduced and will phase off with time. To safe you from the epidemic COVID -19 you have to need antibody development.
If you desire an end to this pandemic, then it is of utmost importance to ensure that you and your loved ones adhere to all the covid-19 protective measures. Let’s join hands together to save humanity from the whims of