Biography & Net Worth: Will viruses such as coronavirus become non-fatal?

Jared Auclair, associate professor of chemistry and chemical biology at Northeastern University, chief of the Biopharmaceutical Analysis Training Lab, and the Life Sciences Test Center in Burlington, Massachusetts, the university’s COVID-19 testing facility. credit: Adam Glanzman / Northeastern University

Coronavirus variants have come to represent the ultimate threat. This is the curve ball of our plan to end the pandemic that has ravaged our world and claimed millions of lives. And this is another one, Omicron. This may involve a pandemic observer’s worst fear, as it appears to circumvent some vaccine protections.

However, mutant viruses are not necessarily ghosts of fate.

“If you think about viruses, what is their purpose? What are viruses trying to do?” Just ask Jared Auclair, an associate professor of chemistry. Chemical Biology leads the Northeastern University Biopharmacy Analysis Training Lab and operates the Life Sciences Testing Center, the university’s COVID-19 testing facility, in Burlington, Massachusetts.

He’s trying to stay alive, they say. And, “if the virus kills someone, if it kills the host, it dies along with the host. So it completely defeats the purpose.”

Because the purpose of the virus is to survive, replicate, and spread, the virus evolves in a more infectious and non-lethal direction. With exceptions and other factors, virologists usually expect it to happen with SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, Auclair says.

To understand why, think about the process of natural selection you probably learned about in high school biology.

The virus survives by replicating itself. This essentially makes us hijack the cell. Then take full advantage of yourself by using some of the machines in those cells. If so, their progeny continue to infect other cells and the process repeats.

The virus does not make a complete copy of itself, resulting in a change called a mutation. Some changes reduce the chances of survival and replication, so those mutations are not usually passed on to future generations. Mutations can be established that do not interfere with the virus’s ability to survive and spread. However, the changes that help the virus survive, replicate, and spread to other hosts are better than previous strains of what the virus needed to make, hence the new dominant version of the virus. Most likely to lead to seed.

“The easiest thing for a virus to do is to be with the same person for as long as possible,” Auclair says. “It’s less work, as in stopping the other host.” It is also beneficial for the virus to be more contagious. The more host viruses can colonize, the more likely the virus will survive and thrive.

However, there is another factor. The virus also needs to evolve to survive attacks on its host to send the immune system to eliminate it.

In the case of the coronavirus, in people who have been vaccinated or have previously been infected with the virus, the immune system is mobilized against the invading virus in two main ways, states Northeastern University of Pharmaceutical Sciences. and said Mansoor Amiji, a leading professor of chemical engineering. The immune system also has a system that provides antibodies specifically designed to prevent viruses from adhering to and infecting cells, destroying infected cells to stop the replication process.

The first part, the scientists say, is the antibody response, which is worth watching in the omicron mutants. The strain shows multiple mutations in the viral peplomer, which is the part of the virus that binds to the host’s cells. Antibodies are designed to block the development of that connection by adhering to the viral pepolymer. However, these antibodies are designed to identify and deal with previous versions of the viral pylomerase.

If the virus evolves to evade the immune system’s strategy, this could mean that it is more likely to infect and infect more cells. This usually means a more severe case of the disease.

In particular, many questions remain about Omicron, whether it is more contagious but less severe than its predecessor. Scientists are working to find the answer to this.

However, even if Omicron (or other types) dodge part of the body’s vaccine-induced or adaptive immune response, it could be a sign that the human strategy is working, Amiji said. it is said.

“To some extent, it is a game of cat and mouse, but it is the evolution of the virus. It’s like, “These people are trying to hold me. I am trying to change myself and be better. I oppose That says. Mutations that have been shown to be beneficial for a virus encountering an immune host are far more restricted if the virus can be widespread within a population.

“We are now bearing down on the virus we are feeling the pressure to run these types of variants at a very short time,” Amiji says. Between a pandemic and endemic at that time. ,

Should I get a booster shot without knowing more about Omicron?

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