Has Covid used up its bag of dirty tricks? Scientists are hopeful

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Has Covid used up its bag of dirty tricks? Scientists are hopeful

Pointing to the convergent evolution of its mutations, they say the virus has limited options before becoming less lethal

Kate Kelland and Julie Steenhuysen

The rapid rise in different parts of the world of deadly, more infectious coronavirus variants that share new mutations is leading scientists to ask a critical question – has the Sars-CoV-2 virus shown its best cards?

New variants first detected in such far-flung countries as Brazil, SA and Britain cropped up spontaneously within a few months late last year. All three share some of the same mutations in the important spike region of the virus used to enter and infect cells.

These include the E484k mutation, nicknamed “Eek” by some scientists for its apparent ability to evade natural immunity from previous Covid-19 infection and to reduce protection offered by current vaccines – all of which target the spike protein...

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