Covid: Professor urges people to ‘remain cautious’ in case of evolutionary mutations

Omicron: GP explains ‘overwhelming’ science behind vaccines

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In a previous interview with, Professor Kinane had mentioned the possibility of an evolutionary bottleneck occurring with Omicron.

The professor explained that an evolutionary bottleneck “essentially means that there is only a limited amount of genetic variation that a virus’ genome can withstand while remaining transmissible”.

Professor Kinane added: “The virus constantly mutates, but if it mutates into a variant that is not transmissible then the virus will disappear.”

If a virus goes down an evolutionary bottleneck it means it has run out of ways to mutate and reaches a point where it cannot continue.

While there is a possibility Omicron may go down this bottleneck, Kinane said: “It is unlikely to do so, and evolutionary pressures will tend towards a more transmissible virus, but this variant may or may not be capable of causing disease.

“We are likely to see more mutations and recombinant variants of this virus if sections of the population remain unvaccinated or immune status wanes. It is expected the COVID-19 virus will adapt, and we need to remain cautious about its evolution.”

Subsequently, Kinane says the UK should remain vigilant for any new variants of threat.

Kinane says this is being hampered by the government’s decision to end free testing, a move described as diminishing “capabilities to identify, analyse, and control the spread of future variants”.

As well as discussing the potential of COVID-19 to find itself down an evolutionary dead-end, Kinane explained the role of an individual’s genetic profile in their reaction to the virus.

Professor Kinane said: “Any microbial and viral infection will affect people differently and this is due to the massive genetic variation amongst humans that through the centuries have provided us protection.

“Without this genetic variability we would have all succumbed to the Spanish flu, yellow fever, or the bubonic plague.”

It is for this reason, alongside other factors, some people react differently to the virus than others.

Some people have had few if any adverse reactions to COVID-19.

However, some have had much more severe experiences and even prolonged symptoms of the virus.

Up to two million people in the UK now have long Covid, the latest chronic condition, one caused by a COVID-19 infection.

Due to the growing nature of the patient group, scientists are working away to understand how to treat long Covid, what it is caused by, and ramifications for those with the condition.

New research suggests long Covid patients face an increased risk of abnormal blood clots.

The study was conducted by a team at University College London.

Analysis found long Covid patients were four times more likely to experience the blood clotting abnormality than others.

This research joins a growing body of research into long Covid.

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