Mutation caused by the treatment: a biologist told why covid-19 evolves

Mutation caused by the treatment: a biologist told why covid-19 evolves

23 December 2020, 09:21SocietyPhoto:
Ancha Baranova, professor at the School of Systems Biology at George Mason University, said that the growing infectivity of the coronavirus is already "striking". Treatment for covid is causing it to mutate, she said. For example, the drug favipiravir promotes the production of mutated variants of the virus.

"In itself, an increase in infectivity does not mean that the disease has become more dangerous. Scientists, however, noticed another important thing - signs that this strain arose as a result of evolution within a single host", - Baranova explained in an interview with RIA Novosti.

That is, the expert clarified, this suggests that the covid was in some person for a long time and underwent evolution. It is such a long "carriage" of COVID-19 that is observed in a state of immunosuppression - suppressed immunity. For example, with HIV or in the case of organ transplantation, the patient is given immunosuppressive therapy, suppressing the immune system with medication.

"The use of such therapy is correct, but it creates conditions for the virus to sit in the body longer. A person tolerates the disease more easily, but it takes more time for the body to clear the virus", - said Ancha Baranova.

The methods of its treatment are helping the evolution of the coronavirus. For example, the biologist pointed out, the use of coalescent plasma, which contains a large number of specific antibodies that kill the virus.

"In the body of a person who has been ill for a long time and seriously, there is often more than one species of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Plasma will remove those viruses that bind to antibodies and leave the rest. A directed evolution of the virus will take place", - said Baranova.

She also added that due to the use of drugs that disrupt the work of viral polymerase, the evolution of covid and the emergence of new strains of it will be aggravated.

"For example, favipiravir, known in Russia as Areplivir, Koronavir, etc. or "Remsedevir", which is used in England, promotes the production of "tainted" mutated variants of the virus. For the most part, they are not viable sickles, and some may turn out to be promising material for viral evolution. Then we will add the convalescent serum, we will knock out the standard intact viruses, and the promising mutants will remain and “go into the world”', - the expert emphasized.

Moreover, she noted, mutated viruses appear during treatment faster than they are formed in the natural environment.

Let us recall that a new strain of coronavirus was recently discovered in all parts of the UK, causing the country to fall into a new panic. The British are literally trying to escape from a new variant of the virus, which is usually 70% more infectious. In the meantime, more than 20 states have already stopped air traffic with Great Britain.

At the same time, the chief infectious disease specialist of the United States, Anthony Fauci, said that he did not rule out that a new, "British" strain had already penetrated into America. In Russia, the mutations of the coronavirus found in the UK have not yet been found, and the Russian coronavirus vaccine is effective against this mutation. However, since December 22, Russia has also suspended flights with the UK.

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