Hope for COVID-19 vaccine: Novel coronavirus strains show little variability, study finds  |  Photo Credit: iStock Images
New Delhi:In some “good news” for scientists working on a viable vaccine for COVID-19, a latest study has found that the SARS-CoV-2 virus behind the disease shows little variability, despite having at least six strains.
Published in the journalFrontiers in Microbiology, the “most extensive” study ever carried out on SARS-CoV-2 sequencing drew from the analysis of 48,635 coronavirus genomes, which were isolated by researchers in labs all over the world.
The researchers at the University of Bologna in Italy mapped the spread and the mutations of the virus during its journey to all continents.
The findings show that the novel coronavirus presents little variability, approximately seven mutations per sample.
Common influenza has a variability rate that is more than double, the researchers said.
“The SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus is presumably already optimised to affect human beings, and this explains its low evolutionary change,” said Federico Giorgi, a researcher at University of Bologna, and coordinator of the study.
“This means that the treatments we are developing, including a vaccine, might be effective against all the virus strains,” Giorgi said.
The researchers noted that currently there are six strains of the novel coronavirus.
The original one is the L strain, that appeared in Wuhan in December 2019. Its first mutation — the S strain — appeared at the beginning of 2020, while, since mid-January, we have