Daily Archives: 21 February, 2021

Spike proteins, mutations and other

Sorry for not writing for some time. This is new for me, and it takes time to adjust to bilingual writing. I have also thought of mutations – a phenomena that has been known for decades. I asked a few questions last time, and it is tough to explain complex genetics with a few words. And in addition, to make it understandable.

A mutation is a change in genetic material that can be passed on to a cell’s or a virus’s descendants. A change in genetic material can be due to many reasons. For example, if you are exposed to radiation at a particular wave length, your DNA can be changed and subsequently may lead to disease. Interestingly, our body has a defence against alterations, so there is a kind of balance. For detailed information, please see: https://www.britannica.com/science/mutation-genetics

Enzymes that help copy viral RNA are prone to making errors. Currently there is a lot of discussion with regard to spike proteins. A spike protein is made up of three smaller peptides in ‘open’ or ‘closed’ orientations. The spike proteins on SARS-CoV-2 bind to receptors on human cells, helping the virus to enter. Open conformations makes it more likely for the virus to enter, and might increase the chance of infection.  Please see: Corona virus mutations (Nature), in particular the illustration on page 177.

I havn´t seen anything written on this topic, but mutations must be very interesting for staticians to study since it concerns probability. From what I remember, statistics is very much about probability. The probability of a mutation might increase the virus´s ability to spread and/or cause disease. And also the contrary, a probability that a mutation will harm the virus. Is there a balance of beneficial mutations for the virus? Good for the virus and bad for humanity. That is at a more philosophical level and the question probably needs to be rephrased. Never mind.

The observed spike protein mutation of SARS-CoV-2 has been observed in several countries. Different viruses in different regions. The virus adapts to the environment but has no passport. Biology meets politics. This has forced authorities to make precautions. For the interested reader, I found this article where you can find more detailed foreign biological viral politics, please see: The Lancet – An action plan against.

I have spent this weekend with sweetie and cutie. Actually, I wanted to write earlier, but this is much too complicated and I needed some thinking. A walk in the forest with my beloved dogs cleared my mind. Dogs are very popular in Sweden right now during the pandemic. They definetly help us to stay safe!