Do SARS-CoV-2 mutations affect its transmissibility?


ISLAMABAD, December 3 (online): New research has found that no currently identified mutation of SARS-CoV-2 appears to make the virus better at transmitting.
After studying a significant number of SARS-CoV-2 mutations, the scientists behind a new study have not identified any that are likely to improve the virus’s transmissibility.
The research, published in the journal Nature Communications, may be valuable in helping scientists keep track of the virus’s possible mutations as it encounters people who have been vaccinated against it.
SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19, has been present in humans for approximately 1 year. During that time, though, it has not stayed the same.
Viruses spread by replicating themselves within a host organism. If all goes to plan, this replication results in genetically identical copies of the virus taking over cells within the host. In the case of SARS-CoV-2, these are typically the cells of a person’s respiratory tract.
However, a virus can also mutate during its replication process.
Viral mutation happens for one of three reasons. Either there is an error during the replication process, or the mutation occurs because another virus is also present in the host. Or, the mutation may be a consequence of the effects of the person’s immune system on the virus.