Over the last, almost three years, we’ve learned that Covid-19 is capable of changing rapidly and blowing through our immunity, whether natural or vaccine induced. This means we can’t expect ‘herd immunity’ to kick in and finally cause the virus to die out. So how do we get rid of it? Is it even possible?
A new study detailed in this New Atlas article makes me cautiously optimistic. Apparently, researchers have discovered an ‘epitope’ that stays pretty much the same across all the mutations up to BA.1 and BA.2. It may also stay the same for BA.4 and BA.5, the two variants we’re battling at the moment, but the research is lagging a bit behind on them.
Essentially what this means is that there may be an area of vulnerability on the virus that doesn’t change every five minutes. If a suitable vaccine can be created to target that vulnerability then scientists may have found the ‘master key’ to all variants.
But… The thing with fast moving mutations is that blocking off this ‘master vulnerability’ could make a hitherto unproductive mutation become productive, by default. This hypothetical mutation could make it easier for the virus to infect frogs or cats or some other host. If that’s the case, it could simmer in a different environment and possibly cross-over again at a later date. Or…best case scenario, it could settle into an animal host and stay there.
Either way, I’ve got all my fingers and toes crossed that science does find a ‘master key’ against Covid because I really would like to see friends and family in the flesh again.