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Coronavirus can mutate and adapt to vaccines, - research

Coronavirus can mutate and adapt to vaccines, - research

disease, virus, Coronavirus, COVID-19, medical mask
COVID-19. Photo by
COVID-19. Photo by

The novel coronavirus may be mutating - learning, in a sense - to defeat human protective measures such as masks, soap and perhaps even vaccines, according to the largest genetic study of the virus conducted in the United States, The Washington Post informed.

The study, led by scientists in Houston and released Wednesday before being peer-reviewed, found that the constantly evolving virus has produced a rapidly spreading mutant strain that appears to be especially contagious.

"It is well within the realm of possibility that … when our population-level immunity gets high enough, this coronavirus will find a way to get around our immunity", - a virologist at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases told The Washington Post. "If that happened, we’d be in the same situation as with flu. We’ll have to chase the virus and, as it mutates, we’ll have to tinker with our vaccine."

A different study brings more hopeful news: A Brown University survey of U.S. schools found extremely low rates of infection among students and teachers since classes resumed. While it's still early in the semester, many schools remain closed and the data is not consistent across the country, the findings suggest that reopening classrooms may not be as risky as many scientists feared.

A fourth experimental vaccine - this one manufactured by Johnson & Johnson - has entered its final stage of trials. The results aren't expected until the end of the year, but if approved, the vaccine would be much easier to store and administer than the other three experimental candidates, whose final trials began weeks ago.

A disarmingly honest and perhaps too-bold reader recently emailed to say that, while he enjoyed this newsletter, "I always cringe when I see your picture. It looks like you are hung over or took too many sleeping pills. How about a new one?" My response is that I would like to, but my profile photo was taken before the pandemic, and my appearance has only deteriorated since then. On the other hand, our Style desk reports that some people are actually managing to get hotter in quarantine. I suggest you look at their pictures instead.

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