• Sun. Oct 17th, 2021

Covid variants, Clerici: “There are also good ones, virus changes at random”

Byeditorial

May 10, 2021

The Covid variants? “Each virus mutates at random to try to escape the antibody response. And, by changing at random, sometimes the mutations it makes could give it an advantage, as has happened with the more transmissible variants of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that emerged. Other times instead the result is neutral, that is, it does not change the relationship “with the immune system. “Or even in this continuous change, sometimes it gets disadvantaged, it accumulates mutations that do not give it any benefit and, on the contrary, make it more neutralizable. be seen by antibodies. It happens not only with the Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus. ” To clarify this at Adnkronos Salute is Mario Clerici, professor of immunology at the University of Milan and scientific director of the Don Gnocchi Foundation, who says he is “optimistic for autumn”. “None of us can read into the future, but my feeling is that I don’t think there will be a further wave of” Covid-19 “in the fall. I think we are now ‘over the top’, as they say. they proceed fast and at the effect of the sun’s rays I am confident that we will not have another peak. The situation is finally more favorable “, he observes. As for the variants, they remain in the spotlight. In these days, the medical director of Spallanzani in Rome, Francesco Vaia, reported that some benign mutations have been traced among the returned Indians. “The argument – Clerici explains – is that the mutations create a cloud of viral variants that are very similar to each other, with minimal changes. Some have an advantage and some have a disadvantage, it is a random process. It is possible that the virus is looking for to ‘be smart’ make mistakes that increase sensitivity to antibodies. ” Of course, he adds, “over time the virus learns and selects more harmful variants because it wants to take advantage. In practice there is a constant ‘arm wrestling’, it is called exactly that. On the one hand the virus, on the other the system human immune system. The two factors are in balance. Obviously, every time we increase the strength of the arm of the immune system with vaccines, we increase the evolutionary pressure on the virus that tries to escape this pressure by creating even more variants potentially capable of coping. . But this tug-of-war allows us to be alive as a species. We have always lived in a contaminated environment and we have survived because our immune system has so far been able to cope with the attacks of the pathogens, but they continue to be there. “