The sudden arrival of the coronavirus had scientists scrambling to study and understand the virus as quickly as possible. The good news is their research tells us that when a vaccine for the virus does arrive, it will likely be wiped out for good.
That’s because the novel virus, also known as COVID 19, has a genetic code that does not appear to be mutating quickly. Peter Thielen, a molecular geneticist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, told The Washington Post that there are only about four to 10 genetic differences between the strains infecting people in the U.S. and the virus that emerged in Wuhan, China.
That’s a “relatively small number of mutations for having passed through a large number of people.” Thielen compared the eventual vaccine to those used for illnesses such as chickenpox and measles, which generally immunize patients long term.
In contrast, the common flu constantly mutates, meaning a new vaccine has to be developed every year. At the moment, there are many possible vaccines being developed that are showing potential—we’ll surely be keeping you up to date on their developments.