Covid-19. Discovered mutations in the coronavirus did not make it...

None of the mutations discovered so far of the new coronavirus that causes the covid-19 disease make it more contagious, researchers at University College London concluded in a study published on Wednesday in which genomes of the virus were analyzed in 46,000 people.

So far, researchers have identified 12,706 mutations in SARS-CoV-2 and have seen that 398 of them are repeated. Of these, 185 manifested at least three times independently during the pandemic months.

“We found that none of these mutations makes the virus spread faster, but we need to continue to study the ones that occur, especially when vaccines begin,” said the study’s first author, Lucy Van Dorp, from the UCL Institute of Genetics .

The researchers warn that the introduction of vaccines will increase the pressure on the virus to make it more elusive to the human immune system.

This may lead to the appearance of mutations that escape the action of the vaccine, which will require rapid identification of these mutations and adaptation of the vaccines.

Coronaviruses such as SARS-CoV-2, which causes covid-19, are RNA-type, which can mutate in three ways: by copying errors during virus replication, by interactions with other viruses that are infecting the same cell or may result from the action of the host’s immune system.

Most mutations are neutral, but they can happen to be good or bad for the virus, passing on to the next generations of viruses.

There was no evidence from the investigation that any of the common mutations are increasing the virus’s transmissibility. Most are neutral, they point out, and are due to the action of the human immune system, not indicating that it is the virus that adapts to its human host.

Normally, a virus will only mutate and divide into different strains when it becomes more common in human populations, but that does not necessarily mean that the strains are more harmful or contagious.


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