What the future may hold for the coronavirus and for us

As the virus spread, more and more mutations appeared, giving rise to even more transmissible variants. First came Alpha, which was abou...


As the virus spread, more and more mutations appeared, giving rise to even more transmissible variants. First came Alpha, which was about 50% more infectious than the original virus, and soon Delta, which was, in turn, about 50% more infectious than Alpha.

“Now we’re basically in a Delta pandemic,” said Robert Garry, a virologist at Tulane University. “So another push, another spread of a slightly better variant.”

While some experts have been surprised to see the hyperinfectious variant emerge so quickly, which has more than a dozen notable mutations, the emergence of more transmissible variants is a manual of viral evolution.

“It’s hard to imagine that the virus is going to appear in a new species perfectly formed for this species,” said Andrew Read, evolutionary microbiologist at Penn State University. “You have to make some adaptation.”

But scientists don’t expect this process to continue indefinitely.

There are probably fundamental biological limits on the degree of infection of a particular virus, depending on its intrinsic properties. Viruses that are well adapted to humans, such as measles and seasonal flu, do not constantly become more infectious, noted Dr Bloom.

It is not entirely clear what the communicability constraints are, he added, but at the very least, the new coronavirus cannot replicate infinitely fast or travel infinitely far.

“Transmission requires a person to breathe out or cough or breathe out the virus, and for it to land in someone else’s airways and infect them,” Dr Bloom said. “There are just limits to this process. It will never be the case that I sit here in my office and give it to someone on the other side of Seattle, right? “

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Newsrust - US Top News: What the future may hold for the coronavirus and for us
What the future may hold for the coronavirus and for us
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