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The novel coronavirus has mutated multiple times, and it could possibly be more difficult to create a vaccine to help protect the population than previously thought, according to an article posted to the South China Morning Post today. This piece references a fascinating research study in Shanghai that was posted to "biorxiv.org."
Here's an excerpt from the article:
has gone through rapid mutations and may spread for a longer time than expected, according to a joint study by two top epidemic research institutes in China.Since January, the virus has gone through at least six major changes in its genes that boosted infectivity and “immune escape” – its ability to escape the detection and attack by the human immune system, the researchers found. Most of these mutated strains occurred in America and Europe, they said."
The article goes on to say:
"Professors Qiu Tianyi and Leng Qibin identified three mutations that improved the binding strength.... This means that even if the effective vaccine could be developed for current circulating Sars-CoV-2, the rapid, immune escape trend mutations will cause the [ineffectiveness of the vaccine] in a short time,” Qiu and Leng said.
“Thus, we may expect the vaccine development [to] become a cyclical work … just like the case of influenza virus.”
Check out the article here.