Variants to the novel coronavirus need luck on their side if they want to become highly transmissible, which means it might be hard for officials to pinpoint forthcoming variants, according to The Los Angeles Times.
How do COVID-19 variants become variants?
A new study from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle suggests that a genetic variant of SARS-CoV-2 needs “a string of lucky breaks to establish itself” as a dominant variant.
- For example, the variant needs to find its way to a super-spreader event, which allows it to move through the population.
- “In the brief period during which its carrier is at or close to his peak viral load, the new variant needs to hitch a ride to someplace like a choir practice, a political rally, a poorly ventilated barroom or a packed indoor arena where people are mingling at close quarters and many are not wearing masks,” according to MedicalXpress.
What does this mean?
This could mean there are more variants out there. But some haven’t made their way to super-spreader events, so they die out more quickly, per MedicalXpress.
This basically means that the variants go through a random number generator system — where random numbers determine random events. There’s no telling when or what number will pop up. It’s all based on luck.
Read more at The Los Angeles Times.