New COVID-19 Strain

The virus outbreak has caused an uproar in the United States and globally. News outlets have currently been reporting a new strain of coronavirus that has recently been discovered. The general population must understand that if this is true, they should not panic because every virus will eventually mutate or have changes that will occur to it. When a virus mutates, it is usually just a small change that is meaningless.

The virus can mutate and can infect more people or develop a different transmission mode rapidly. When a virus mutates, the mutated version usually just dies out on its own.  In rare instances, the virus may successfully create a new strain that is easy to transmit, cause more death, and have more severe symptoms associated with its new strain. 

The new strand of coronavirus that is being reported coming out of southeast England has no evidence that the virus is more easily transmittable, causes more death, and has more severe symptoms associated with it. For these reasons, people should be cautious, but there is no need for people to panic.   Scientists are still monitoring this new coronavirus that has been identified in England very closely and there are multiple reasons why. The first reason is that if a virus mutates, it can jump back and forth between the old strain and the new strain.

Another reason is that any new strain of a virus should be monitored closely just so organizations such as the World Health Organization and the CDC can be on top of things. Scientists are closely monitoring if the new strain shows up in places where there are higher cases of the old strain of covid-19. If this is occurring, this is a warning sign that the virus has mutated and it’s spreading more quickly and causing increased infections.

In some cases, a variant virus is a good thing and the reason why is because it can affect the right people at the right time. What is meant by infecting the right people at the right time is that the virus can be isolated to where it came from and how it is being transmitted. This type of information allows scientists to study the mutated virus better and determine how it has mutated and spread quicker than the original virus. Prof Nick Loman is currently studying the new mutated form of the covid-19 virus. Prof Nick Loman is a representative and scientist from the COVID-19 Genomics UK. He states that his findings were that the virus has multiple different mutations and that some are unique in their molecule structure. In particular, two viruses have piqued his interest, and both of these viruses contain an essential spike protein that allows the coronavirus to enter the body.

The first mutated virus that Prof Nick Loman is monitoring closely is called the N501. This particular mutation of the virus has an altering effect on one of the spike protein’s essential parts called the receptor-binding domain. The receptor-binding domain is the part of the spike that comes into contact with the body’s cells first. If a mutation such as the N501 can successfully alter or make changes to the receptor-binding domain, this can give the virus an edge and make it easier for the virus to attack the cells. The second mutated virus in relation to the coronavirus is called the H69/V70 deletion.

This particular mutation strand has also been seen in other viruses, such as infected mink.  This virus has been seen in several different viruses. The main concern associated with this particular mutation is that an individual who has contracted this mutation strain in the past has the antibodies needed to fight off a mutated H69/V70 deletion coronavirus strain. This is just another issue that scientists will have to study to find a definite answer.  

Another professor from the University of Birmingham by the name of Prof Alan McNally states that there is evidence that there is a variant of the covid-19 virus. However, they still do not have enough information about the variant. Information is lacking; further study is needed to know if the variant is threatening or non-threatening. The studies need to continue because the new strain of the coronavirus can affect the spike protein. The reason is that the pharmaceutical companies’ vaccine is focused on training the immune system to attack the spike protein.

So if the vaccine is attacking the spike protein and the new strain of coronavirus is directly affecting the spike protein, no one knows how this can affect the body. Even though all these variables exist, healthcare officials are still adamant that the vaccine will work against any strain of the covid-19 virus. The reason why is because the immune system will automatically learn to attack multiple parts of the spike protein.