Should We Be Worried That The Coronavirus Is Mutating
The phase 2 of circuit breaker has fortunately graced us, permitting the reopening of businesses and institutions.
Whilst this has prevented a total economy recession, the health scare is a reality we, unfortunately, still need to face.
With no vaccine still in sight, we need to be vigilant lest we have to deal with battles on both sides: a full-out economy recession and a worsening health pandemic.
On top of the lack of vaccines, scientists have also found that the novel coronavirus had mutated within this short time.
Let’s take a break from the numerous types of body hair removal procedures for now and keep abreast of the COVID19 situation. With the mutation of the virus, find out whether we need to be more alarmed than we already are.
How has it changed?
In the early stage of the pandemic, one of the 30,000 letters in its genome transformed from an A to a G.
A few months later, its mutation trajectory is still unclear. Whether this is a fortunate or unfortunate fact, virologists are unable to arrive at a conclusive study as the virus mutates slower compared to its counterparts, thus leaving fewer mutations to study.
However, some virologists had theorised that SARS-CoV-2 had already mutated and evolved to adapt to humans when it first emerged at the end of 2019.
The virus experiences an average of 2 changes a month in its genome. These changes may not have affected the way it behaves, but some may have altered its transmissibility or severity.
One of the earliest changes includes deletion of 382 base pairs in the ORF8 gene.
Whilst the function of the gene is largely unknown, the same deletion was found during the 2003 SARS outbreak.
It alluded that this deletion may have caused the deceleration of the SARS transmission, but the same can’t be said for COVID19.
The G614 mutation
One particular mutation that has grabbed the attention of many scientists around the world is the change in the virus’ spike.
COVID19’s viral structure include protein spikes that envelope its surface, which the virus uses to bind with and enter human cells.
This mutation, also coined as G614, caused the aspartic acid at position 614 of the spike to change into glycine.
To further dig into its effects, researches have conducted a couple of cell culture experiments and have realised that the G614 variant of the virus is more efficient in binding and entering cells.
The slight change in the shape of its spike has somehow allowed the cell and the membrane of the virus to fuse with ease.
This may mean a 3-10 times increase in its transmissibility rate.
That said, don’t panic just yet! Bear in mind that these studies are done in a stringent and controlled environment.
An increased transmissibility and infection rate on a laboratory cell line will not translate and give the same results to the billions of diverse cells in the human body.
Whether it is more transmissible in the real world, what we are sure is the fact that this G614 variant has become the dominant strain and is common in almost every nation.
Should we be alarmed?
The simple answer is no. Viruses are always mutating and changing.
When it begins to infect a cell, it will start making copies of its genetic instructions. However, this process is highly error-prone, thus producing differences in its genome.
And as we’ve touched on previously, just because there is a change in a virus doesn’t necessarily mean it will wield any changes to the human body.
Furthermore, experts and virologists around the world are consistently conducting tests and tracing any changes. The changes that we’ve seen are all within expectation and if they’re not raising any red flags, then we shouldn’t as well.
At Datsumo Labo, we take our precautionary measures seriously.
To better manage traffic and safeguard the health of both our clients and our staff, we invite customers to book an online appointment for their IPL permanent hair removal treatment.
We hope to assist you in achieving smooth skin, all whilst doing it in a safe manner! The fight has yet to end, so let’s stay vigilant!