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Viral mutation is a change in the genetic structure and nature of the virus. This process can occur when the virus is multiplying in the cells of its host, both humans and animals. However, what causes the virus to mutate?
Virus is a very small microorganism, which is about 16-30 nanometers. This size is much smaller than bacteria. However, both bacteria and viruses can cause infection or disease in humans.
The following are some types of diseases caused by viruses:
- Hepatitis B and C
- Dengue fever
The Reason for the Mutation of Viruses
Viruses survive by attaching to host cells. As long as it is in the body of a human or animal host, the virus will continue to reproduce by channeling genetic material, both RNA and DNA, to he althy cells in the host's body.
After the viral genetic material enters the host cell, the virus will dominate and damage the cell. However, in humans, this process can be inhibited by the immune system.
In order to survive, viruses must adapt by constantly mutating to trick the immune system of their host. After the virus mutates, the immune system will have a harder time recognizing the virus, so the virus can survive and attack its host cells.
Not only to trick the immune system, the virus mutation process can also make the virus stronger and easier to breed. Virus mutations can also make viruses have the potential to cause new diseases, such as COVID-19.
However, sometimes viruses can also be stimulated to mutate to make them weaker. This process is generally carried out in a laboratory, with human intervention. The mutation of the virus to become weaker is usually carried out in the vaccine development process.
Corona Virus Mutation and Corona Vaccine
One of the diseases caused by viruses is COVID-19. The Corona virus that causes COVID-19 is an RNA virus. When compared to DNA viruses, RNA viruses tend to mutate faster.
During the last few months, the Corona virus, which just emerged at the end of 2019, is known to have mutated. However, the effect of the Corona virus mutation on the severity of the disease, the speed of virus transmission, and the development of vaccines is still not considered significant and requires special attention.
However, starting at the end of 2020 to 2021, WHO has reported that there are several types of new Corona virus variants that need to be watched out for (variant of concerns), namely the Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta variants of the Corona virus. Meanwhile, several other COVID-19 variants such as Kappa, Lambda, Mu, Eta and Iota are classified as variants of interest.
The vaccine for the Corona virus that is currently being developed is still effective in stimulating the immune system against the Corona virus that has undergone mutations.
If you want to know more information regarding symptoms, prevention, and facts about the Corona virus and COVID-19, download the ALODOKTER app on Google Play or the App Store.
Through the ALODOKTER application, you can chat directly with doctors and make an appointment with a doctor at the hospital if you really need an immediate examination.