Earlier this week I wrote that there appeared to be no evolutionary biological reason to think the corona virus would evolve at present to be less deadly. It’s starting to look like I was wrong.
In fact it looks as though the vaccines have driven selection of changes in the virus’s spike (to evade vaccination-driven antibodies) that make it less likely to be able to inflict serious harm on humans. If so it’s an unexpected bonus from what is already the great scientific achievement of the century. Anti-vaxxers should (but are unlikely to) note that those of us who did our duty to society by being vaccinated have delivered this, not them.
But, of course, it’s all far from good news. The Omicron variant is clearly much more transmissible and is still a killer. Those who have not been vaccinated are at particular risk. If numbers hospitalised keep rising at the anything like the current rate then the health system could still be swamped even if the risks to any individual are lower.
If you can, get vaccinated and help give us the tools to finish the job.
2 responses to “Winning the evolutionary war?”
Speaking of COVID, the New York Times mentioned a Dr. Jim McMenamin, incident director for Covid-19 at Public Health Scotland.
Is he a relative?
All the McMenamins in the world can trace their roots back to West Ulster – a bit of Tyrone but mostly Donegal (my paternal grandparents were from Donegal) – a lot of emigration to the West of Scotland from Donegal (mine didn’t go that far east, stopping in Belfast). In short I am sure that your probably don’t have to go *that far* back to find our connection, but he’s not any known relative.