The new prototype of the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) that causes Covid-19 has infected millions of human beings in numerous parts of the world. To put in other words, not only few people died because of this virus.
Specialist Internal Medicine Specialist (Intern Pulmonologist) FKKMK UGM, dr. Sumardi, Sp.PD, KP., FINASIM., said that this new coronavirus continues to mutate rapidly. Mutations occur when viruses replicate themselves in cells and copy their genetic code.
This new type of coronavirus is an RNA virus. RNA viruses are strains that can make new copies that can continue to infect other cells when they meet a host.
“The genetic material of Covid-19 is RNA, and its amino acids are constantly evolving and mutating. In contrast to DNA viruses that are not more susceptible to change,” he explained on Friday (5/22).
He mentioned that virus mutations are a normal cycle in the evolution of viruses. However, this mutation will increase the severity of the disease it causes. Mutated viruses are usually more potent than before.
These conditions affect the progress of the Covid-19 vaccine. Therefore, the virus continues to mutate from time to time, which improves its behavior in infecting. The same thing happened in the development of HIV vaccines. Until now, there have been no results in developing a vaccine that can prevent the spread of HIV because it remains to mutate. This condition causes the vaccine that has been designed to protect against certain strains of the virus and cannot be used for new types of infections.
“Being a challenge in developing vaccines for RNA viruses, including Covid-19. If the vaccine has been found in the future, it must be updated continuously because the virus is continually changing,” said the Head of the Pulmonology and Critical Diseases Division of RSUP Dr. This Sardjito.
He delivered referring back to the properties of RNA viruses that when multiplication error can occur, reading the amino acid codes that make up the viral genes. In contrast, vaccines are made based on the genetic elements of the source RNA virus. Meanwhile, when the vaccine can be used for mass vaccination, the RNA virus has mutated its genetic material. These conditions affect the vaccine produced to make the protection power reduced, as is the case with the Swine flu vaccine case.
Sumardi said the progress of the Covid-19 vaccine also adjusted to the conditions of each country. It is because the new coronavirus has different characteristics in each state. The new coronavirus in Indonesia has different characteristics from viruses in China and other countries.
Based on the information in the Global Initiative for Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID), three types of SARS-CoV-2 viruses are grouped globally. They are S, G, and V. While the coronavirus in Indonesia is known to not belong to the third type of world type that has been identified and entered as type O, short for “others.”
Translator: Natasa A