Why do we keep getting new coronavirus variants?


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With the advent of the new SARS-CoV-2 Omicron mutant that causes COVID-19, you may have wondered why the coronavirus continues to mutate.

According to John Segreti, a medical doctor who is an infectious disease expert and medical director of infection control and prevention at Rush University Medical Center, there is a simple answer: “That’s exactly what the virus does.”

How variants occur

Segreti is of all types virus When it infects a person and the virus replicates, an error occurs and the virus can change Genetic code.. This code contains instructions that the virus needs to reproduce. It cannot thrive because some mistakes in the genetic code make it impossible for the virus to replicate. But other mistakes, he says, are that the virus can make more equipment to survive. This results in variants such as the SARS-CoV-2 delta variant. It currently accounts for the majority of COVID-19 cases in Illinois.

The latest variant called OmicronFirst detected in South Africa and now in the United States, it is evidence that the virus is constantly changing. And the more people infected with the coronavirus, the more replication it can have and the more mutations that lead to new variants of the virus.

“If you want to reduce the number of variants, you need to reduce the number of people infected,” says Segreti.

Omicron is not the last

The World Health Organization (WHO) has named the mutant strains of concern and interest for SARS-CoV-2 after the Greek alphabet.Omicron, which represents the 15th letter of the Greek letter, is certainly not the last coronavirus Mutant.. Segreti expects to far exceed the capacity of the 24-character ancient alphabet.

“Increase hundreds of millions of people infected with hundreds of millions of viruses for everyone, and you have a huge number of potential mutations that you can make,” he says. ..

Tired of new variants?Get vaccinated

The best protection against Delta and Omicron variants is to get vaccinated or get a booster when the deadline comes, says Segreti. For adults, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) obtains Pfizer or Moderna booster if at least 6 months have passed since completing the first-duplicate vaccination series with the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. It states that it needs to be done. If you received a single Johnson & Johnson vaccination at least two months ago, the CDC states that you need to obtain booster immunity with any of the COVID-19 vaccines available.

The CDC also recommends boost immunization of the 16- and 17-year-old Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines if at least 6 months have passed since the first Pfizer vaccination series.

Other safeguards for everyone include wearing masks, practicing social distance, and staying home in case of illness.

Infectious disease experts encourage vaccination to fight COVID-19 mutants

Quote: Why keep getting new coronavirus variants? (December 14, 2021) Obtained December 14, 2021 from https: //medicalxpress.com/news/2021-12-coronavirus-variants.html

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