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Researcher: Covid treatment drives mutations

Watch the video above about how the coronavirus mutates.

Covid patients with a suppressed immune system after cancer treatment or autoimmune disease and treated with convalescent plasma from recovered or monoclonal antibodies appear to have increased the mutation rate of the coronavirus. It shows five scientifically published cases. The patients had covid disease for an average of 155 days and this gave the virus plenty of time to adapt to the treatment.

The coronavirus has mutated faster in recent months

For most of last year, the original sars-cov-2 virus from China changed slowly. It gave hope that the new vaccines developed at record speed would be effective. But then suddenly new corona variants emerged in the UK (B.1.1.7), South Africa (B.1.351) and Brazil (P.1) with many new mutations spreading rapidly around the world because they were better at infecting cells. In addition, there are studies that indicate that the approved vaccines do not seem to work as well against the mutated variants.

-Exactly these variants are thought to have arisen in people who have weakened immune systems, that there have been many changes and then it has spread further from there, says Mia Brytting who is unit manager at the Public Health Agency.

Vaccination can drive new variants

Researchers at Science warn that the mass vaccination against covid-19 that is currently underway could drive new corona variants if it takes a long time or becomes incomplete.

– What can happen is that we build up more and more immunity. And then it may also be the case that you select a variant that has better dispersal ability among those who have a certain immunity. This means that there will be mutations that change that may mean that you can still become infected even though you have been vaccinated or have previously had the infection, says Mia Brytting at the Swedish Public Health Agency.

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I The world of science 26/4 20.00 in SVT and SVTplay, we sort out the new corona variants and the vaccine that will protect against them.

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