With the abysmal ratings of the recent Superbowl as an indicator, the world’s attention is clearly more attuned to the COVID-19 pandemic than the whiny stars of pro- sports. In the ongoing mini-series of COVID-19, the latest stars of infectious disease include a list of so called “variants.”. Similar to the “mutants” of comic book and movie fanfare, these variants are mutations of the standard SARSCoV2 virus raging across the world. Everyone awaits the next move of these variants wondering if they will achieve superstar status or become another has-been nobody.
With that in mind, what do the experts say? Basically, we just don’t know enough yet about predict how famous any given variant will become. The article in focus from JAMA includes the infamous Dr. Fauci and two other national experts on COVID-19. They discuss the basics of these variants including the confusing naming system.
The variants arise when a genetic mutations alters some process or structural protein in the virus. They express the greatest concern for variations in the spike protein which serves as the attachment point for the virus into our cells. Such mutations and changes may lead to a virus that spreads more easily, infects more severely, or becomes more difficult to treat.
The “more difficult to treat” aspect includes whether or not antibodies to the older variants will still work for the newer variant. These antibodies may result from natural infection or from vaccine administration. If a variant becomes resistant to the antibodies, some COVID survivors could be reinfected or current vaccines may become ineffective. Neither possibility puts a smile on anyone’s face.
With the experts expressing such uncertainty, what are we to think? First, we grab a grain of salt with which to swallow their advice. Given Dr. Fauci’s record of flip flopping and misinformation, we should keep looking for other sources for guidance. Second, we look to experience and common sense. Past medical experience remind us that SARSCoV2 is not the first virus to ever mutate, creating variants. Let’s consider how we can apply this to the current situation. Normally viruses ultimately mutate to less virulent forms unless something is manipulating them to do otherwise. Common sense suggests we will see a similar future with COVID over time.
Finally, let’s keep applying natural therapies and proven-effective pharmaceuticals to treat early COVID-19. Other blogs on this site and our main Sanctuary website (https://sanctuaryfunctionalmedicine.com/education/blog/?term=239) offer a good starting point for these therapies. Empowering others to overcome both disease and fear of the disease… just another part of our daily work.
John R. Mascola, Barney S. Graham, Anthony S. Fauci. SARS-CoV-2 Viral Variants—Tackling a Moving Target. JAMA, 2021; DOI: 10.1001/jama.2021.2088
Thanks to Science Daily:
NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “NIH experts discuss SARS-CoV-2 viral variants: Editorial emphasizes need for global response.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 February 2021. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/02/210212121621.htm>.