As the worldwide coronavirus pandemic continues, many people are beginning to wonder if the deadly virus will mutate into something far worse than we could have ever imagined. It can be difficult to think of COVID-19 getting any worse, and seeing the word “mutation” in headlines has many people scared and confused. But what does it mean for a virus to mutate? Should we be concerned?
What You Should Know About the COVID Mutation
Many people are misinformed about what exactly happens when a virus mutates, leading them to become fearful. The fact is that all viruses mutate. It is a vital part of their life cycle. So while the idea of COVID-19 mutating shouldn’t be a cause for alarm, it is still a good idea to learn as much as you can about it and how it will affect us.
One fact that is worth noting is that mutations in a virus are not always a negative thing. Sometimes a mutation can lead to a virus becoming weaker. Most of the time, however, the changes in the virus are so minimal that there are not any noticeable differences in how the disease transmits or its fatality rate.
COVID-19 Is Mutating Slowly
All viruses have either DNA or RNA as the genetic material. COVID-19 is an RNA virus. When the virus enters a host, it uses the host cells to make many copies of the virus. Those copies go on to infect other cells and, eventually, other people. Each time the virus copies itself, a mutation may occur.
Because of this copying process, change in any RNA virus is inevitable. It is entirely normal for these viruses to change, or mutate, regularly. COVID is no exception. Over the last few months, it has been slowly but surely mutating. Because of its slow rate of change, the virus now is not vastly different from the original. The viral sequence from the original virus from China is remarkably similar to the virus that is currently circulating in the United States and other parts of the world.
How Will COVID Mutations Affect Us?
The good news about COVID-19 mutating is that it doesn’t seem to be any more fatal or dangerous than the original strain that showed up in late December last year in China. There is only a rare chance that the virus will mutate into something more aggressive than the current one.
Because the virus is not changing much as it mutates, a vaccine will work well against different COVID-19 variants. The variants of the virus are similar enough that the available vaccines should work against multiple strains. In general, most vaccines tend to target the earliest version of the virus. It should be possible to have a reliable COVID-19 vaccine that will give us will extended-lasting immunity against this deadly virus.
Learn More About How to Stay Safe During the Pandemic
At BASS Urgent Care, we are taking extra precautions to keep our staff and patients safe during the pandemic. We are still here to treat your non-emergency illnesses or injuries such as headaches, cuts and scrapes, and ear infections. Get in touch with us today at (925) 329-3718 to find out how we can assist you.