So, is COVID weakening in strength when not all countries experience a significant reduction in the patients’ viral load?
Another study says it’s still possible.
Arizona researchers stated that a new COVID mutation mirrors what had happened to SARS when it started to weaken. Dr. Efrem Lim, the lead author of the said study, stated that they used technology to “read through” the genetic code of the coronavirus.
According to Lim, COVID-19’s genome or genetic code has 30,000 “chemical letters.” When you analyze these letters, you will be able to get some information about the virus. This may include how the virus is adapting, spreading, or mutating.
The researchers studied a total of 382 swabs. They were surprised when one sample came out with an incomplete genome. Dr. Lim said that a total of 81 chemical letters were missing.
The researchers also indicated that those letters correspond to the virus’ “immune protein.” The immune protein gives the virus the ability to counteract the patients’ antiviral response. Because it’s deleted, we might have a weaker virus that could cause less severe symptoms.
The same thing happened with the 2003 SARS epidemic. It also underwent a mutation that significantly lessened its potency.
So, is COVID weakening in strength? Dr. Lim says it’s too soon to tell. The discovery of the missing chemical letters indicates that the virus can be transmitted even with an incomplete genome. However, as of now, it could not suggest a “weakening” of any kind.
This is because despite missing a large chunk of the genetic code, the patient from whom the sample was taken still became “somewhat sick.”
The Rate of COVID Infection in the Philippines
Is COVID weakening in strength? Unfortunately, it isn’t. That’s according to Dr. Rontgene Solante, chair of San Lazaro Hospital’s Adult Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine Section. According to Dr. Solante, as long as the virus is in the environment and the host, it will not weaken. He also mentioned that the virus could very well be a part of the Filipinos’ new normal.
The rate of infection in the Philippines still suggests that there is an on-going community transmission. UP researchers stated that while the national R naught, or the rate of infectivity, has lowered to 1.2, it is still higher than the ideal level which is 1. They forecasted that there could be about 40,000 cases by the end of June 30.