Coronavirus continues to mutate in battle to combat the pandemic

US research illustrates the complexity of SARS-CoV-2 as the United Nations row simmers over its origins

Research has shown that the Covid-19 virus risks becoming more contagious as it rapidly mutates.

A study in the United States analyzed 5,000 genetic sequences of the pathogen to shed light on why coronavirus cases are rising again in the US.

It found that SARS-CoV-2 could be responding to public health measures, such as social distancing, and mutating to “get around” those procedures. 

“Wearing masks, washing our hands, all those things are barriers to transmissibility or contagion, but as the virus becomes more contagious it statistically is better at getting around those barriers,” David Morens, a virologist at the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said after reviewing the research report.

Moreover, this “may have implications” in the global fight “to control” Covid-19 even when a vaccine is rolled out later this year or in early 2021.

While Morens warned that the white paper should not be “over-interpreted,” the findings tend to mirror an even larger study of 25,000 genomes conducted in the United Kingdom earlier this month.

Death toll

So far, more than 32 million people have been infected worldwide with the death toll from the Covid-19 pandemic hovering close to the one-million mark.

In the US, there have been more than seven million cases while a second wave has engulfed Europe.

“We continue to call on all countries to use every tool at their disposal to suppress transmission and save lives, until and after we have a vaccine,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the World Health Organization, said earlier this week.

Still, the row continues about the origins and measures taken by China to suppress the coronavirus after it first surfaced in Wuhan at the end of 2019.

Opening a virtual debate at the United Nations on Thursday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi took a swipe at the US when he stressed the importance of “multilateralism” in tackling Covid-19.

“In such a challenging moment, major countries are even more duty-bound to put the future of humankind first, discard Cold War mentality and ideological bias and come together in the spirit of partnership to tide over the difficulties,” he said.

Scattergun speech

Responding to Wang’s statement, US Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft came out verbally slugging.

“Shame on you. I am astonished and disgusted by the content of today’s discussion,” she said as reported by the Associated Press news agency.

Craft then went on to quote President Donald Trump’s scattergun speech on Tuesday to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the the founding of the UN.

“We must hold accountable the nation which unleashed this plague onto the world: China,” she reiterated, referring to Trump’s address.

In the meantime, the silent enemy known as SARS-CoV-2 continues to claim lives across the planet in waves of mutating destruction.