For Covid-19, you need to know the Greek alphabet. At the beginning of all this, it was somewhat simple in that there was one virus called SARS-CoV-2. But then the virus began to mutate. In the field of virology, no single virus has received so much attention. And given how devastating the pandemic was, there’s a clear reason.
Scientists were early aware of changes that could benefit the virus. The virus’s sole mission is to make a copy of itself.For example, this change may make it easier to find the virus. — — This is called an increase in transmission rate — — Or, more worrisome, it may allow the virus to dodge the protective effects of the immune system over previous versions. It’s as if the virus has begun to disguise.
Variants were first named based on where they were first seen. Do you remember the British and South African variants? The World Health Organization (WHO) has decided to give Greek letters instead, so now there are alpha, beta, gamma and delta.
WHO has also designated them as either variants of interest (VOI) or variants of concern (VOC). The VOI has undergone notable changes, but you don’t have to worry about it until you know the details. However, VOCs have proven different in that they are potentially more dangerous. Perhaps it is more contagious and can exacerbate the disease or evade the immune system. It’s VOI because it’s a bit like when I met a new person and I’m not sure if I can trust it. If you find that you can’t trust them, they will become VOCs and you will be especially vigilant against them.
What’s happening here? Can you predict what will happen next? I’ve learned so much in the last 18 months, but these questions remain. Variants occur based on how all living things behave. All life on earth is dominated by evolution, or “survival of the fittest.” For the SARS-CoV-2 virus, every time you copy itself, you will get a slight random error. Therefore, the new virus is different from its parent. Early pandemic scientists understood that SARS-CoV-2 had a slower error rate than other viruses: slower than influenza and much slower than HIV, the aid-causing virus. rice field. Probably no malignant variants will occur, but hope was shattered when the virus began to spread around the world.
This is a number game. The more likely the virus is to divide, the more likely it is that VOI will occur. This can be a VOC. And that’s exactly what happened.
Delta was first born in India. The changes it has make it at least twice as communicative as its predecessor.
This is called Delta’s “superpower” — improved transmission. Chinese scientists have shown that people infected with Delta carry 1,260 times more virus into their noses than the original virus that started everything. Delta has also been shown to cause symptoms 2-3 days earlier than the original virus, which took 7 days to develop symptoms. The immune system can grow so fast that it seems unlikely that it will react to it. People who have been infected with or vaccinated against previous variants are infected to some extent because Delta can dodge some of the immune system.
Fortunately, if vaccinated (or infected), Delta can break the defense, but the immune system can contain it and prevent it from doing any real harm. However, if unvaccinated or never infected, there is an increased risk of serious Delta disease than previous variants. This is because it is highly contagious and may pick up higher doses of the virus.
This can happen if you are vaccinated, but if you are not vaccinated, your immune system is limited, so it grows more easily in your body and causes more serious illness. It can cause it. The arrival of the Delta makes vaccination even more important as the main way to protect yourself from Covid-19. Due to its superpower, Delta has surpassed other varieties and has spread around the world and is now the dominant variety.
Evolution never sleeps, so variants continue to come. They will continue to come until as many people as possible are vaccinated. The latest VOI that has attracted our attention is the Mu variant (pronounced “Mew” because it is a Greek symbol). This is similar to Delta, but there are some differences. I don’t know what these differences do to it, but at least so far it seems to be less fit than Delta. The term “survival of the fittest” is often used by biologists interested in evolution, namely “survival of the fittest.” Delta seems to be the most suitable at least in the Rogue gallery of SARS-CoV-2 variants so far. Some scientists say the virus may have reached so-called “peak fitness.” This is great news, as Delta may be as bad as it gets, but we need more data to support the idea.
One thing we know is that if SARS-CoV-2 produces a mutant that makes us very ill, it is unlikely that it will spread very widely. This is because a very sick person can self-isolate and reduce spread or die, and the virus will die with it. Many viruses cause mild illness. That means the virus can continue to spread. However, it is important to recognize that the virus does not have a brain. — — They haven’t come up with a cunning strategy. SARS-CoV-2 is a fragment of RNA wrapped in a fatty bag that, according to the law of natural selection, produces completely random mutants. Unlucky and survival-friendly varieties are what we see.
Therefore, we can expect to see more variants. Some can be VOCs. The chances of a really nasty VOC are low. And our best defense against all varieties is vaccination.
There are two options for future vaccinations. First, give a booster to the old variant. This is because it provides sufficient protection from new variants. The reason for this is that the antibodies produced by the vaccine may have a low ability to neutralize VOCs, but quantity may take precedence over quality.
Think of it as something that prevents the Blu Tack from sticking to the peplomer and sticking to the lungs. Even if the spikes change slightly and the Blu Tack doesn’t stick, the booster drives the immune system to produce enough Blu Tack to overwhelm the spike protein.
The second option is to vaccinate with a new spek protein. This pulls out and neutralizes the very sticky Blu Tack.
This may be what the future holds. Like influenza, every winter, vaccines against circulating VOCs may be vaccinated against older and vulnerable people. It can also be used in combination with the flu vaccine, but this has logistical implications. All this is possible only thanks to the tremendous science that is happening with Covid-19. Science that ensures that we win in the end.
Luke O’Neill is a professor of biochemistry at the School of BiochemistryImmunology at Trinity College Dublin
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