The pandemic of coronavirus has created chaos in the scientific world. Numerous researches are being done by scientists related to COVID19. One of them states that the coronavirus is mutating its genetic makeup with time. But what is of concern is how these changes would affect humans or any other possibility of fighting this disease.
As a matter of fact, all viruses replicate and genetically mutate itself all the time. For this replication, they require a living host to perform its survival and multiplication process with their DNA or RNA depending on what virus it is. However, these viruses can make unavoidable mistakes in their replication process that can lead to mutations in their genetic makeup as compared to their ancestors.
Like the flu virus, the corona is also an RNA virus. Still, unfortunately, the process of mutation leads it to a more contagious one yet also resistant to available antiviral medications. This might sound disturbing since the whole world is suffering from the global crisis as corona continues to spread. With all the odds, it should be enlightened that with the virus mutating, it doesn’t have to link with more dangerous consequences. Furthermore, virology experts say that it is improbable that SARS-CoV-2 would turn out into what actual pandemic looks like.
“The rise in its spread and multiplication is not unexpected since it is one of the traits that viruses carry in its genome. All viruses replicate continuously, and it shouldn’t be considered as alarming but a part of the general process, thus the same would be expected for a virus like this,” says Nathan Grubaugh, a virologist at the Yale School of Public Health in New Haven, Connecticut.
The word ‘mutation in coronaviruses’ fears everyone around the globe as a sign of something worst in the next days. But as Grubaugh says, “mutation is a part of how humans evolve from their ancestors and are different from them.” It doesn’t indicate how better or worst mutations can be.
SARS-CoV-2 lacks DNA. Instead, it uses its RNA as genetic material. This is why they cannot fix any errors or mutations when their genetic code mutates. This makes the coronavirus to evolve more quickly than any other organism.
The mutations could be harmful to the virus itself or may not appear to change how it functions. It may depend on how contagious or how deadly the infection is. However, these both factors are controlled by multiple genes, says Grubaugh. These multiple genes can not be changed within the blink of an eye, it is a complicated process, and this often makes the mutation rate slow and yet more stable in its current state. This also explains that it is unlikely to get the coronavirus more dangerous as it continues to spread. The prognosis of it for being more lethal over the timescale isn’t very high.
Inevitably, the coronavirus has undergone numerous changes in its genome, from not being non-infectious to humans to a threat to them, it has evolved from its ancestors. But, it still hasn’t gained the ability to be mortal to humans. It would take a course of many, many years for it to be a cause of any deadly event.
People are more afraid trusting of all unauthentic news about the outbreak, and they need to know that despite the rapid spread of corona worldwide, and despite being resistant to many anti-viral drugs, it is still possible to control it. Knowing it is slowly mutated and more stable than the flu virus is actually positive. For this reason, there are chances of creating an effective vaccine with the least possibility of coronavirus getting resistant.
While slow mutations would give scientists the chances of studying profoundly different strains of viruses, and how various factors like climate, the temperature would affect it. Moreover, effective drugs could be developed for different strains of mutated coronavirus, as found in the affected population.