Scientists at Johns Hopkins University in the United States revealed that SARS-CoV-2 belongs to slowly evolving viruses, which increases the likelihood of creating a successful vaccine. This is described in a press release published on the website of MedicalXpress.
According to the researchers, the virus has had very few genetic changes since its appearance in 2019. The development of vaccines and drugs for such slowly mutating strains of viruses is much simpler than for those infectious agents that are changing rapidly, which include, for example, the causative agent of influenza. In general, hundreds of species of coronaviruses mutate more slowly than many other viruses.
When developing the vaccine, scientists focused on the S-protein, which is located on the outer surface of SARS-CoV-2 and allows the virus to bind to the host cell and then penetrate inside it. This protein has highly specific sites that come into direct contact with the receptor on the surface of the host cell and serve as the most likely target for the vaccine. To date, no significant changes have been observed in these sites in any of the 20 thousand genome samples sequenced around the world.