Some COVID-19 mutations stronger than others

New research tracking the mutation of the COVID-19 virus shows some mutations could be stronger and more dangerous than others, a finding that could have major implications for the development of a vaccine.

Some COVID-19 mutations stronger than others

New research tracking the mutation of the COVID-19 virus shows some mutations could be stronger and more dangerous than others, a finding that could have major implications for the development of a vaccine.

The studies, conducted in the US and UK, have identified hundreds of different mutations of the virus, however this alone is not an unusual finding.

Since the outbreak began, scientists knew the virus would mutate – as do all viruses, including the flu. The question has been - how fast is it mutating and is it getting stronger?

Preliminary research conducted in the US has identified one particular mutation which scientists involved in the study believe to be stronger and more dangerous than any of the other mutations.

Overall, the study identifies 14 different mutations, however the mutation D614G is described in the study as being of "urgent concern".

The report suggests that particular mutation began spreading through Europe in early February and "when introduced to new regions it rapidly becomes the dominant form".

Another study from University College London (UCL) identified 198 recurring mutations to the virus however researchers have said this is not necessarily a worrying sign.

"Mutations in themselves are not a bad thing and there is nothing to suggest SARS-CoV-2 is mutating faster or slower than expected," one of its authors, Professor Francois Balloux, said.

A study from the University of Glasgow, which also analysed mutations, said these changes did not amount to different strains of the virus. They concluded that only one type of the virus is currently circulating.

Many of the vaccines currently being developed for COVID-19 rely on identifying a specific anti-body that attacks the virus but in order to identify an antibody, scientists need to understand in extreme detail, the virus itself.

The faster a virus mutates, the harder this becomes because it constantly changes. The flu virus, for example, mutates very quickly which is why people are encouraged to get a new vaccine each flu season.

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Pell aware of child sex abuse in 1970s, Royal Commission finds

Previously redacted papers reveal Cardinal Pell knew about the abuse in 1973 and had considered measures of avoiding situations that "might provoke gossip about it".

Pell aware of child sex abuse in 1970s, Royal Commission finds

A royal commission report has found that George Pell was aware of child abuse by the clergy in the early 1970s.

Newly released information from findings made by the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse in December 2017 show that Cardinal Pell knew about the abuse in 1973 and had considered measures of avoiding situations that "might provoke gossip about it".

The findings were released after the High Court last month overturned Cardinal Pell's child abuse convictions.

"We are satisfied that in 1973 Father Pell turned his mind to the prudence of (Gerald) Ridsdale taking boys on overnight camps," according to the report, tabled in the Senate on Thursday morning.

"The most likely reason for this, as Cardinal Pell acknowledged, was the possibility that if priests were one on one with a child then they could sexually abuse a child or at least provoke gossip about such a prospect.

"By this time (1973) child sexual abuse was on his radar, in relation to not only Monsignor (John) Day but also Ridsdale.

"We are also satisfied that by 1973, Cardinal Pell was not only conscious of child sexual abuse by clergy, but that he had also considered measures of avoiding situations which might provoke gossip about it".

The former Vatican treasurer and Melbourne and Sydney archbishop was released from a Victorian prison on April 7 after the High Court overturned his five abuse convictions.

The royal commission's separate reports into the Catholic Church's response to abuse complaints and allegations in the Melbourne archdiocese and Victoria's Ballarat diocese were released in December 2017.

Both had sections blacked out to avoid prejudicing any current or future prosecutions, including the abuse case against Cardinal Pell.

The report, which contains more than 100 pages, shows Cardinal Pell was aware of children being sexually abused within the Archdiocese of Ballarat.

The findings do not relate to any abuse allegations against Cardinal Pell himself but rather his knowledge of complaints against paedophile priests and Christian Brothers.

The papers also reveal Pell knew Ridsdale was moved because he had sexually abused children and should have done more about an unstable priest in another Victorian parish.

The child abuse royal commission rejected Cardinal Pell's evidence that he was deceived and lied to by Catholic Church officials about Ridsdale and Melbourne parish priest Peter Searson.

Ridsdale is in prison after committing more than 130 offences against children as young as four between the 1960s and 1980s.

Pell has always denied knowing of any child abuse occurring in Ballarat while he worked there as a priest.

"We are satisfied that Cardinal Pell's evidence as to the reasons that the CEO deceived him was implausible," the report read.

"We do not accept that Bishop Pell was deceived, intentionally or otherwise".

Pell previously told the commission that investigating Searson was not his responsibility and said he did not have enough information to act after being handed a handed a list of complaints about Searson in 1989.

The commission found "these matters, in combination with the prior allegation of sexual misconduct, ought to have indicated to Bishop Pell that Father Searson needed to be stood down".

Searson passed away in 2009 before facing any charges against him.

Cardinal Pell was a priest in Ballarat between 1973 and 1984, overseeing the diocese's schools and occasionally acting as an adviser to the bishop.

Source : 9 News More   

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