EU warns virus epidemic worsening, as restrictions ramp up
France sees record new cases; virus may be becoming more contagious
The Covid-19 virus is continuing to mutate throughout the course of the pandemic, with experts believing it is probably becoming more contagious, as coronavirus cases in the US have started to rise once again, according to new research.
The new US study analyzed 5,000 genetic sequences of the virus, which has continued to mutate as it has spread through the population. The study did not find that mutations of the virus have made it more lethal or changed its effects, even as it may be becoming easier to catch, according to a report in the Washington Post, which noted that public health experts acknowledge all viruses have mutations, most of which are insignificant.
David Morens, a virologist at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that the new study should not be over-interpreted, but added that the virus could be responding to public health interventions such as social distancing.
“All those things are barriers to transmissibility, or contagion, but as the virus becomes more contagious it statistically is better at getting around those barriers,” he said.
Morens noted that this could mean that the virus might continue to mutate even after a vaccine is available, meaning the vaccine will have to be tinkered with – just as the flu vaccine is altered each year: