Science

Covid-19 variants mutate better in people with weak immunity

Prashasti Awasthi | | Updated on: Feb 04, 2021
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The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has witnessed mutations of the virus into its more contagious forms. The mutated strains that had emerged in the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil particularly concerned the science community due to speculations of the strains’ evading responses against the vaccine.

Now, a new study claims that the Covid-19 strain finds better ground for mutating in people who are immunosuppressed.

The doctors in the United States, who carried out the study, found that a Covid-19 strain living in an immunosuppressed patient for 150 days changed significantly by adopting 50 differences in its genetic code.

The changes occur randomly as the virus multiplies to proliferate. These changes occur in its shape, which can affect the way the virus functions.

The researchers noted that around 50 per cent of the changes in the virus occurred on the spike protein, which it uses to bind with the human cells. The spikes only contribute 2 per cent of the virus's genetic code.

All three of the new strains have changes to their spike protein which make them more transmissible, deadly, or immune-resistant, the study said.

The authors noted that most changes adopted by the virus do not make a difference to the behaviour, or shape of the virus. This is because most people who contract coronavirus recover within 14 days of the infection. They also remain infectious for a short interval. This does not provide the virus a chance to infect others.

However, for people who have low immunity and those who are Covid-19 long haulers give the virus a window to genetically shape-shift and spread back into the population, Professor Jones, a virologist at the University of Reading, explained to Daily Mail .

Published on February 04, 2021

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