As the deadly coronavirus pandemic has affected nearly 212 countries and territories globally, scientists are finding treatments and vaccines to overcome the virus. From coronavirus adapting to different populations to experimental vaccines, researchers have left no stone unturned to study about the new SARS-CoV-2.
According to recent research published in the medical journal Infection, Genetics and Evolution, researchers took samples from more than 7,500 people infected with COVID-19 and found that the virus adapts to its human hosts. Scientists reportedly found that almost 200 recurrent genetic mutations of the new coronavirus show how it may be evolving as it spreads in people.
While speaking to an international media outlet, Francois Balloux of University College London, who co-led the research said, that all viruses mutate. Balloux reportedly said that the mutations in themselves are not a bad thing and there is nothing to suggest that COVID-19 is mutating faster or slower than expected. He added that the so far, the researchers cannot say where the virus is becoming more or less lethal and contagious.
While the virus adapts to its human hosts, scientists are trying their best to find a vaccine for COVID-19. Recently, an experimental vaccine, safely induced with antibodies that blacked several different SAR-CoV-2 strains, was injected in macaque monkeys. The researchers reportedly said that tests of their vaccines, PiCoVacc’, in humans will likely begin later this year.
According to another research, scientists also found that the true prevalence of problems with smell and taste among patients infected with the virus may be higher than doctors realise. The researchers discovered that among a total of more than 1,600 infected patients in North America, Asia and Europe, nearly 53 per cent had diminished or loss of sense of smell, and nearly 44 per cent had problems with taste. The scientists even used reliable tests to evaluate patients’ ability to smell and taste and found that the rates of dysfunctions were even higher.
The scientists reportedly suggested that the true prevalence of the dysfunction in COVID-19 patients may remain underestimated. They also believe that increased awareness may encourage earlier diagnosis and treatment of the deadly virus as well as heighten vigilance for viral spread.