With studies revealing a slower mutation rate for SARS-CoV-2, the availability of a long-lasting vaccine against the COVID-19 maybe not be that far.
With death tolls on the rise each day, scientists and researchers are making every effort to develop a solution against the novel coronavirus. While drugs like hydroxychloroquine and favipiravir have been termed as ‘game-changer’, these offer only a short-term solution. With several experimental vaccines for COVID-19 currently under clinical trials, a vaccination for SARS-CoV-2 may be available sooner than expected. The slower mutation rate of COVID-19 virus has raised hopes of the scientists giving them new impetus in vaccine R&D.
Highlights! The wait for a COVID-19 vaccine may not be that long.
- Various studies and researches on SARS-CoV-2 are currently underway.
- A vaccine called mRNA-1273, expected to be available by fall this year, is currently under trial.
- Slower mutation rate of SARS-CoV-2 than the seasonal flu may lead to faster development of a vaccine against COVID-19.
Studies and researches on SARS-CoV-2
Ever since the pandemic broke out, scientists have been studying the evolution of SARS-CoV-2. The study is helping in learning more about how the genes of the virus function. It also helps in making inferences about the spread of viruses around the world and what type of vaccine may be most effective against it.
The studies done by researchers and scientists reveal an interesting fact – SARS-CoV-2 virus appears to be mutating slowly in nature. This information can be of great help in developing a vaccine against the virus. And it’s researches such as these that may turn out to be a real ‘game-changer’ as far as COVID-19 is concerned.
mRNA-1273 awaits trials results
The studies being performed are already aiding scientists and researchers in developing new vaccines for the novel coronavirus.
Moderna, the maker of the mRNA-1273 vaccine, has revealed that they are working on their vaccine for the novel coronavirus. The vaccine is expected to be available for sale this fall, but only to a selected group of people. The vaccine targets proteins on the outer structure of the coronavirus and works by introducing synthetic mRNA sequences into the patients.
The phase 1 trials of mRNA-1273 began in March. The results aren’t yet out but Moderna is hoping for positive outcome. If the trails are successful, mRNA-1273 will be administered in limited fashion only for healthcare workers initially.
Slower mutation rate of SARS-CoV-2 gives hope
Various researches and studies reveal that the SARS-CoV-2 mutates much more slowly than the seasonal flu. While SARS-CoV-2 seems to have a mutation rate of less than 25 mutations per year, the seasonal flu has a mutation rate of almost 50 mutations per year.
The SARS-CoV-2 genome is also almost twice as large as the seasonal flu genome. And as a result, the seasonal flu mutates roughly four times as fast as SARS-CoV-2. The fact that the seasonal flu mutates so quickly is precisely why it is able to evade our vaccines.
Hence the significantly slower mutation rate of SARS-CoV-2 gives us hope for the potential development of effective long-lasting vaccines against the virus. Moreover, with vaccines like mRNA-1273 already under trial phase, maybe the potential protection against novel coronavirus isn’t too far.