Number of known COVID-19 mutations reaches 500, scientist says

Number of known COVID-19 mutations reaches 500, scientist says
  • Clock-gray 00:37
  • calendar-gray 18 November 2020

Mutational changes are inherent for viruses which is supported by the example of the SARS-CoV-2 virus with the number of known variations since the beginning of its spread worldwide reaching 500, Director of Kazan Federal University’s Research Clinical Center for Precision and Regenerative Medicine Albert Rizvanov who heads a research group of developers of a test system and a vaccine against the coronavirus told TASS on Tuesday, APA reports.

"To date, about 500 various mutations of the novel coronavirus are known, this is a normal manifestation, since all live organisms mutate and evolve. Viruses mutate especially rapidly because they have a very primitive genetic apparatus. <…> More often the mutations weaken the virus making it less deadly. However, at the same time it may become more contagious. At the moment, all the coronavirus mutations described in research articles insignificantly influence the properties of the virus causing COVID-19," the scientist said.

Earlier on Tuesday, Head of the Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing Anna Popova reported on changes in the virus circulating in Siberia. At the same time she noted that these changes did not make it more dangerous.

As Rizvanov explained to TASS, the mutation occurs in the process of self-replication of the coronavirus. A polymerase protein, copying a viral genome, makes a lot of mistakes which cause the emergence of new variants of the virus. Frequently numerous mutant variants of the virus may be present in the system of the same person, the scientist added.

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