The SARS-CoV-2 virus mutates fast. That’s a concern because these more transmissible variants of SARS-CoV-2 are now present in the U.S., U.K. and South Africa and other countries, and many people are wondering whether the current vaccines will protect the recipients from the virus. Furthermore, many question whether we will we be able to keep ahead of future variants of SARS-CoV-2, which will certainly arise.
In my laboratory I study the molecular structure of RNA viruses – like the one that causes COVID-19 – and how they replicate and multiply in the host. As the virus infects more people and the pandemic spreads, SARS-CoV-2 continues to evolve. This process of evolution is constant and it allows the virus to sample its environment and select changes that make it grow more efficiently. Thus, it is important to monitor viruses for such new mutations that could make them more deadly, more transmissible or both.