Home Health Is the super mutation coming? That’s what the Covid experts say

Is the super mutation coming? That’s what the Covid experts say


First, a new virus subtype from southern France made the headlines, then just a few days later, Cyprus again reported an allegedly never-before-seen mutation combination of omicron and delta: Neither have so far turned out to be particularly worrying. With the France virus, experts had changed Sections found in the gene code of the virus that can at least partially switch off the human immune system. So far, however, there are no signs that the pathogen could prevail against the omicron variant, which is now dominant in most European countries. Epidemiologist Hajo Zeeb from the Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research and Epidemiology in Bremen told FOCUS Online shortly after it appeared: “At the moment I can hardly imagine that we will now get a variant that also overruns the very quickly spreading Omicron variant. I think that’s rather unlikely.”

“Deltakron” probably not a new mutation, but a laboratory error

The supposed “Deltakron” mutation has now turned out to be a laboratory error. “Regarding the deltakron (delta and omicron mix) of Cyprus, which has been the subject of much media coverage in Greece lately, initial independent analyzes show that there is a technical error by the laboratory in the gene reading process,” explained physician Gkikas Magiorkinis from the University of Athens. Previously, there had already been doubts as to whether an Omicron Mix variant could even exist, since Omicron itself has only been in circulation for a few weeks. On the mutation front, the all-clear signal has been given for the time being – and yet the reports raise the question of whether we could still get some kind of super mutant. A variant that actually exists in real life and is destroying the immunity we have painstakingly built up from more than 9.5 billion vaccine doses and 317 million infections worldwide.

The more infections occur, the greater the risk of mutation

“That could still happen if we don’t soon step up our efforts to fight the pandemic globally by giving vaccines to poor countries and thus helping to stop the virus from circulating in large quantities,” explains epidemiologist Timo Ulrichs from the Akkon University in Berlin. Because: “The greater the total amount of viruses, the greater the risk that further variants will develop through the combination of mutations.” Ralf Reintjes also emphasizes this. He is Professor of Epidemiology and Health Communication at the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences. “What we do know is that viruses mutate regularly. As the viruses replicate in host cells, there are occasional errors in the transcription of the virus’s genetic code.” In most cases, these faulty copies are worse than the original. “However, the new variant of the virus can sometimes have properties that make it more suitable for spreading in the population. We are currently experiencing this with Omikron.”

“There is some evidence that we are approaching an endemic situation”

We could therefore assume that there could continue to be new variants of the virus as a result of mutations. “However, if they do not have a distinct selective advantage, they will not be noticed and will not cause us any problems as a society,” says Reintjes. It is difficult to predict whether there will still be a completely changed super mutation with a decisive selective advantage – similar to the fact whether Omicron will actually be the last variant of the acute pandemic, as hoped by many experts. “Personally, I wish that very much.” And there are “some indications that we are approaching an endemic situation,” Reintjes hopes. The coming months would finally show it.

Infectiologist: “The probability is very low”

Infectiologist Christoph Spinner is also optimistic on Wednesday in the FOCUS Online Corona Talk. He also emphasizes that when the number of infections is as high as it is currently, there will always be new variants. Overall, however, it is the case that if many people in the population have already had contact with the virus – whether through vaccination or because they have recovered – the risk of a mutation that is completely new and completely undermines the immune response decreases.” there is always something like partial immunity, which in turn reduces the severity of the disease. So the probability that we will now be thrown back to zero is very low,” states the senior physician for infectiology at the Klinikum Rechts der Isar of the Technical University in Munich. The first cities decide to make FFP2 masks compulsory (advertisement) The federal-state conference officially recommended wearing FFP2 masks on public transport and when shopping. The obligation already applies in Bavaria. In many pharmacies, the prices for this are currently increasing. Buy now at a great price to be prepared no matter what. Now in the FOCUS online shopping deal from 60 cents per piece with the Coupon code “DEAL40”.

“No way back to deadlier variants”

The prognosis of virologist Ulf Dittmer is similar. “I’m pretty sure: there is no evolutionary way back to a more deadly virus,” explains the head of virology at the Essen University Hospital on Wednesday in the video format “19 – the boss visit”. “Delta was an absolutely deadly virus and certainly the worst variant we’ve had in this pandemic.” Omicron is already weakened in its consequences for the organism. Comprehensive studies are still missing, but it is already evident that deep lung infections are “only very rare” now, according to Dittmer. The number of deaths would have been “very close” to the course of a flu wave.

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