According to a new study in China SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, has mutated into at least 30 different genetic variations, since its first confirmed case in December 2019 in Wuhan, China.
The overall ability of the virus to mutate has been greatly underestimated. Different stains may have different impact. This may be the reason for different impacts of the disease in various parts of the world.
This will lead to further difficulties in finding an overall cure. Scientists explained these mutations imply that one single vaccine is not going to work against all the mutations of SARS-CoV-2.
Li Lanjuan, one of China’s most prolific epidemiologists said, “Sars-CoV-2 has acquired mutations capable of substantially changing its pathogenicity,”
Li’s team randomly chose eleven coronavirus patients from Hangzhou, and analyzed the strains. After that they tested how efficiently they could infect and kill cells. They detected over 30 different mutations of which 19 were previously undiscovered.
From this study it is evident that mutation could affect how severely the virus caused disease or damage in its host.
Li and her colleagues wrote, “Drug and vaccine development, while urgent, need to take the impact of these accumulating mutations… into account to avoid potential pitfalls,”