Coronavirus is Mutating

You might have read that the Novel Coronavirus is mutating. That is it's changing genetic sequence as it spreads. That's very true. Scientists have examined the sequences from hundreds of viruses taken from people around the world and some are starting to diverge from one another. The term mutating coronavirus might sound alarming, but it shouldn't be. So far during this pandemic, mutations have not been a bad thing. In face, they've been a bit useful.



How Viruses Mutates?

A virus is essentially a loose strand of genetic materials surrounded by a protein based wrapper.  Viruses exist to make copies of themselves. They spreads by entering a host and making copies of themselves by hijacking its cells. Mutation are a natural by-product of that process. The proteins that's in charge of making copies of viruses genes inside a cell, called the polymerase, can make mistakes. Sometimes, when it had to go to guanine, it slips to adenine. Other time multiple kind of viruses can enter the same hosts body. If they both spill their genes into the same cell, some materials can get swapped around, and an entirely new virus gets created. This process is called Recombination as the two kind of viruses recombine to create an entirely new virus and that's what is happening with Coronavirus.


The Facts

Scientists believe that the coronavirus from Bats recombine with other coronavirus maybe from another animal. That may have recall a change in its spike protein of the virus, the part that binds to the host cells and hijack it. In the case of Novel Coronavirus, the protein became good at binding the virus with human cell. So, whenever the virus found itself in a human eyes or nose, it gets easily bounded to human cells. It started production of its copies and jump from one-to-another person until we don't break the chain.


The Future Mutations

Future mutations could change how it acts, according to theory. Mutations that are beneficial for virus are more likely to occur. While the mutations that could harm the virus, fades away. For the virus, those mutations could be beneficial which helps it in staying in air for larger times and helps its  rate of spread. The harmful mutations for viruses could be those which can kill its host quickly and reduce its rate of spread. Those kind of change could happen, but none of them are seeming to happen with Novel Coronavirus.

A virus genome from India might look different from virus genome from America, but functionally these all are the same. Different genome don't give different strains. The harm to hosts are same.


About Coronavirus

The Coronavirus is RNA Virus and it doesn't repair the mistakes appeared in copying process. But the proofreaders in these viruses, helps them double-check that they are not making mistakes while copying themselves. Although, the viruses are mutating but their mutation rates are very slow. A latest virus genome will be very similar to the one, emerged in Wuhan. This suggests that vaccines would not stop working on these viruses.


The End Notes

Mutations happens. They are part of the natural lifestyle of viruses. They could not be classified as good or bad, they are natural. Scientists are watching the mutation closely, the challenge is in understanding it. That's all in this article. Drop your views in the comment section below.
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