There’s no question that the sudden appearance of new strains of the SARS-Cov-2 virus has caused everyone a whole set of new problems. Particularly in places where it was already pretty much out of control. If this mutation problem becomes endemic, then we will have the virus with us for decades to come. New research suggests that this could well now happen.
As every schoolchild knows, a certain number of random genetic mutations are thrown up in every new generation. So a very large and growing population will throw up a relatively large number of mutations. But a smaller, stable population ,which can reproduce itself for many generations, will eventually throw up the same number in time. If SARS-Cov-2 could find a place to hide and maintain a steady population, it could be generating dangerous new strains in 2030 and 2040.
And what better place than the human gut? It is warm and wet with lots of vulnerable soft tissue. It has regular flows in out to facilitate spreading and colonisation of new victims. Now a new Chinese study, covered by the Times of India, points to worrying signs that the virus has found a home in human guts. So far the sample size is small. But that is not a ground to dismiss, but rather an urgent wake up call for a much bigger one. It may be that vaccines could counter it: but the trouble with that one is that gut cells are slightly isolated from other tissues in the body, and a vaccine may struggle to reach them. For us at LSS, this is a disturbing new trend, and it needs to be addressed.
We thank Mr Gary Herbert of Buckinghamshire for this story
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