When COVID-19 Mutates, What Are the Risks?
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All viruses are prone to mutate. But RNA viruses like SARS-CoV-2 mutate more frequently than anything else in the world. RNA viruses include a wide variety of familiar infections like Rabies, Ebola, Polio, Measles, Zika, Influenza A. Some estimates say RNA viruses account for up to 44% of all emerging infectious diseases.

#Understanding Virus Mutations

• Virus genes mutate so often that they are sometimes called a 'quasispecies,' in which a 'population of particles' infect a host that is nonidentical but related.

• The whole viral population may share roughly similar genetic traits, with a lot of variation, according to Vincent Racaniello, Ph.D., Higgins Professor of Microbiology & Immunology at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine of CUNY.

• But virus experts say mutation does not necessarily make a virus more deadly overall.
- Killing your host quickly can make it hard to spread to a new one;
- Natural selection often prevents viruses from becoming more deadly as they mutate;
- Mutations often prevent the virus from successfully spreading, or lead to a weaker version of the original;
- Scientists hunt for weak replicants of viruses for their potential as vaccine strains.

#How COVID-19 Mutations Compare to Other RNA Viruses?
Here are some mutation rate estimates for other known viruses. This number tells you roughly how many viral particle mutants will exist in a given viral population:

• Influenza A: 319/10,000,000, (.00319%)
• Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV): 9,927/100,000,000 (.009927%)
• Measles: 9/100,000, (.009%)
• Poliovirus 1: 3/10,000 (.03%)
• COVID 19: 21/20,000 (.00105%) to 63/50,000 (.00126%) (estimated by researchers at Johns Hopkins)

#What Do We Know About COVID-19 Mutations?

• An early study that claimed the existence of a supposed "strain S" and "strain L" of the virus that causes COVID-19 was published March 3.

• A mutant variation of the COVID-19 virus that causes additional concern has yet to be found, according to researchers.

• In addition to searching for weak mutations that might serve as vaccines, researchers can track the spread of the disease by following its mutations. This can help us know where new infections are coming from, among other important details about the novel coronavirus.

Source: https://www.medicinenet.com/when_covid-19_mutates_what_are_the_risks-news.htm
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