‘ARMS RACE' With COVID Coming FAST as Virus May Be Heading for More SUBSTANTIAL Mutations

Here’s what the short and long-term future of COVID-19 looks like.

    2021/09/01

NSFW    BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA — SARS-CoV-2 will continue to evolve in various directions, beyond the mutations seen in its delta variant, according to Hamish McCallum, Director at the Center for Planetary Health and Food Security at Griffith University.


Since the virus’s emergence in 2019, the global population of SARS-CoV-2 has accumulated an average of about one mutation every two weeks, according to the Next Strain COVID tracker.


Writing for The Conversation, McCallum explains that these mutations occur when the virus's genome, made up of around 30,000 nucleotides, is replicated and some of those nucleotides are erroneously replaced.


Along the way, some of these mutations confer advantages on the virus, in particular the ability to produce more cases, more quickly, and these mutations are more likely to survive into the next generation, because of natural selection.


At the moment, the delta variant offers a clear demonstration of this selection process in action.

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