As scientists see coronavirus mutations, is it in our favor or not?
When it comes to the coronavirus, do you have reason to worry less?
One doctor is optimistic, saying the version spreading through Florida is weaker than it used to be. But others say that strain of coronavirus is getting stronger.
Pediatric critical care doctor Jason Foland says, “This virus is mutating.”
And during a news conference on Sunday, Dr. Foland, with the Ascension Medical Group in Pensacola, said it’s mutating in our favor, “The less aggressive virus is the one that is spreading throughout the community.”
We reached out to Ascension for clarification and data to back up the statement, but we still haven’t back by the time of publishing.
Scientists at the Scripps Research Lab in Jupiter say just the opposite that the new coronavirus variant taking over the United States is more infectious than before – though further studies are needed.
So which is it?
Doctor Bindu Mayi is a professor of microbiology at Nova Southeastern’s College of Medical Sciences, and she says it doesn’t mean Dr. Foland’s observations are wrong. Science may just need time to catch up, “With all of the data that we have currently, there is no proof that the virus is less transmissible or less virulent.”
But when it comes to the Jupiter research, Dr. Mayi says the science is right, explaining, “The only mutation that seems to be significant to transmissibility is the one that was identified by the Scripps institute … It increases the number of those spikes on the surface of the virus, and those spikes are important to bind to the host cells.”
Meaning the virus is more efficient.
So while there’s still so much we don’t know Dr. Mayi says we should focus on what we do know, “The best thing we can do is prevention, and the only way we can do prevention is collectively.”
WINK News spoke with the Jupiter researchers Monday, and they said there’s no evidence yet that any changes in the virus are having a significant impact on our number of deaths or hospitalizations.