How Covid virus mutates inside a human body

The last two years has seen the rapid spread of Covid virus and its various variants. In a new study, researchers have focused on what happens in the body of the patient during their illness.

Researchers from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology discovered various mutations not included in existing databases and even a new, previously unknown variant.

The researchers also examined the efficacy of existing vaccines against these variants and found that the efficacy varies depending on the different types of mutations in the spike protein.

They identified a specific mutation in s2A — one of the spike proteins, which impairs the effectiveness of antibodies battling the virus.

“This identification is an important factor in understanding the adaptation of the virus to its host’s body,” said Yotam Bar-On, Assistant Professor at the Rappaport Faculty of Medicine.

“We appreciate that our findings may lead to the detection of weaknesses of the virus — mechanisms that weaken its ability to infect -‘ and to develop new measures to curb infection,” Bar-On said.

In the study, published in the journal PLOS Pathogens, the team provided sequencing on an individual level, mapping the genome of the individual virus, and comparing different variants that developed in the patient’s respiratory system.

Furthermore,they detected very low doses of virus found in tissue cells that do not show up with simpler methods.

The mutations that develop in the patient’s body produce, as a rule, variants with a relatively low adhesion capacity.

In other words, these variants may not be able to be transmitted from person to person.

While this hypothesis still requires further research, the findings hold true for the 10 variants examined to date in the study.

The findings show that analysis of the evolution of the virus at an individual level contributes to a better understanding of its development and of possible ways to combat it using vaccines and drugs.

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