Experts have been keeping a close eye on the virus and any mutations it may have.
Coronavirus new variants: Since the beginning of the pandemic, new variants have been the cause for concern for authorities, because they usher in new waves of cases along with them. However, is it possible for new SARS-CoV-2 variants to keep emerging? Well, as long as the virus due to which the pandemic began continues to infect people, new variants will emerge, a report by news agency AP said. However, emergence of new variants of coronavirus does not necessarily mean that these new variants would be more dangerous, or that they would come up regularly.
Globally, less than half the population has been vaccinated, which means that the virus would continue to find people who can be infected. The virus would also replicate within these people for several months or even years to come. But what does that have to do with virus mutation? Every time a virus replicates itself, it leads to the occurrence of a small mutation, and these changes can help in the survival of the virus by becoming new variants.
However, that also does not mean that the evolution of the virus would continue to be in the same manner as it had been since the virus first appeared among humans at the end of 2019. The report cited Pennsylvania State University virus expert Andrew Read as saying that a virus needs to adapt itself to a new host on a wide scale when it infects a new species.
Apart from this, University of Michigan virus and infectious disease expert Dr Adam Lauring said that the delta virus, which is said to be twice as contagious as earlier variants as per CDC, could still mutate and become more infectious, but it is not likely that the transmission rate would double again.
It is important to note that while the virus could become more deadly, there is not going to be an evolutionary reason for that to occur. Moreover, it is also less likely that extremely sick people would socialise and spread the virus among others.
Meanwhile, experts are keeping a careful eye on the development of the virus to see if emerging variants are capable of evading the immune response that is generated from infections and vaccinations. As more and more people are getting vaccinated, the only way for the virus to survive would be by spreading through people who have some level of immunity, which means that the virus could take on a mutation that is more immune to the antibody response. In such a case, scientists are likely to push for periodic updating of vaccine formulae.