Is the virus that causes Covid-19 more or less likely than the flu virus to mutate and thus cause a large, ongoing death toll?
Per the Journal of Infectious Diseases, "All viruses mutate, but influenza remains highly unusual among infectious diseases" because it mutates very rapidly, and thus, "new vaccines are needed almost every year" to protect against it. While much remains to be seen about the mutations of the virus that causes Covid-19, the early indications are that it will not mutate rapidly and become an ongoing scourge. As detailed in a March 2020 paper in a molecular biology journal that cites Michael Farzan, co-chair of the Department of Immunology and Microbiology at Scripps Research, once a vaccine for C-19 is developed, it "would not need regular updates, unlike seasonal influenza vaccines" since the C-19 virus "does not mutate rapidly for an RNA virus because, unusually for this category, it has a proof-reading function" in its genetics.
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