Like any virus, COVID-19 began to mutate, forming new strains. Already known are the "British" (alpha), "Brazilian" (gamma), "South African" (beta) and "Indian" (delta) coronaviruses. At the same time, changing, COVID-19 can become more infectious and resistant to treatment and antibodies acquired during the previous vaccination.
On the way, more and more "letters of the Greek alphabet", for example, WHO has shown interest in the "Peruvian" version called "lambda", the mortality rate from which today is the highest in the world. Has evolution led to the formation of the super-coronavirus, or should we not worry too much about the problems of South American Indians?
Usually, our body is able to defend itself against external attack, thanks to the ability to produce antibodies that defeat the aggressor and provide immunity. However, things are not as simple as we would like. In order to survive in this evolutionary war, viruses adapt by changing their outer shells to trick immune cells. This is how a new strain is formed, to which the antibodies present in the body are not yet adapted, since their protective program is tuned to the previous strain. It is because of the constant mutation of the virus that we get sick with ARVI again and again every year. Once in cells, the virus inserts its genetic information into them, and they begin to reproduce millions of their infected copies. At the same time, some errors inevitably occur, leading to a change in the virus.
By the way, mutation does not always lead to a more dangerous version, sometimes the virus, on the contrary, weakens. As infectious disease doctors explain, the likelihood of mutation increases if the virus is kept inside a weakened organism for a long time in immunocompromised patients. An external aggressor can more successfully resist their immune system, and therefore has more opportunities for adaptation and change. For this reason, places where infected people congregate, such as hospitals or covid hospitals, are hotbeds of potential COVID-19 mutation.
The epidemiological situation in the country could be improved by mass vaccination, which is capable of providing herd immunity to broad layers of the population. Vaccination by itself will not guarantee against infection with a new strain, however, the presence of antibodies in the body will allow it to more easily pass the stage of the disease and speed up recovery. In this context, the categorical refusal of a significant part of Russians from vaccination is a real problem.
We live in a globalized world, and any new infection that has appeared somewhere on another continent can reach us very quickly. If the pandemic began a year and a half ago with the "Wuhan" coronavirus, now its place has been taken by the "Indian" version of Delta SARS-CoV-2. This strain is considered more dangerous due to the increased risk of transmission. Today, about 90% of the cases of infection detected in Moscow, the Moscow region and St. Petersburg are in the "delta". It is not difficult to guess how the Indian strain got into the largest Russian megalopolises, but from there it managed to start moving around the country. Over the past three weeks, for example, in the Rostov region, Delta SARS-CoV-2 has been detected in covid patients. Apparently, tourists from Moscow, who were not allowed to rest abroad, brought the coronavirus to the southern regions.
What makes it even more annoying is that the activity of the vaccines against the "delta" has decreased by about 2,6 times. This concerns our Sputnik V vaccine. However, this is a very good indicator of effectiveness, since it decreased 3-5 times for competing products Pfizer, Moderna and others. This is an inevitable natural process for the reasons indicated above. But what to do next? To produce all new vaccines for new strains? It is simply impossible to do this promptly, since each new drug must be re-tested and certified.
Meanwhile, COVID-19 continues to change. For example, doctors are concerned about the "Peruvian" coronavirus called "lambda". This strain was identified in Lima last year, and now it has supplanted all other variations of the coronavirus in this country, where 100 out of 97 detected cases of infection are localized. the average is 6 deaths. The altered form of the spike-like outer protein allows the "Peruvian" to easily bypass the "antiviral defense" of the body. To date, the "lambda" has managed to spread to 30 countries of the world, which means that it will eventually reach Russia. Experts reassure that the increased mortality in Peru can be explained by other factors: overcrowding, underfunding of medicine in this poor country and a shortage of beds in infectious diseases wards.
It is possible that this is so, but does it make it easier for us? By and large, only timely vaccination can become a real help in the body's fight against the constantly changing coronavirus. The presence of herd immunity in the vast majority of the population will be a factor hindering the mutation of COVID-19 and the formation of its more dangerous strains.