How Will the Coronavirus Evolve?

from The New Yorker

In 1988, Richard Lenski, a thirty-one-year-old biologist at UC Irvine, started an experiment. He divided a population of a common bacterium, E. coli, into twelve flasks. Each flask was kept at thirty-seven degrees Celsius, and contained an identical cocktail of water, glucose, and other nutrients. Each day, as the bacteria replicated, Lenski transferred several drops of each cocktail to a new flask, and every so often he stored samples away in a freezer. His goal was to understand the mechanics of evolution. How quickly, effectively, creatively, and consistently do microorganisms improve their reproductive fitness?

Lenski’s flasks produced about six new generations of E. coli a day; the bacteria woke up as babies and went to bed as great-great-great-grandparents. In this way, Lenski and his team have studied more than seventy thousand generations of E. coli over thirty-three years. Compared with their distant ancestors, the latest versions of the bacterium reproduce seventy per cent faster; it once took them an hour to double their ranks, but now they can do it in less than forty minutes. Different populations have taken different paths to enhanced fitness, but, after decades, most have arrived at reproduction rates within a few percentage points of one another.

Lenski’s Long-Term Evolution Experiment, or L.T.E.E., as it’s called, has yielded fundamental insights into the mutational capabilities of microorganisms. For his work, Lenski, now in his sixties and at Michigan State University, has received a MacArthur “genius” grant and a Guggenheim Fellowship. “I’m not sure I can tell you how it’s affected my thinking, because I’m not sure I can conceive of being in this field without this experiment existing,” Michael Baym, an evolutionary biologist at Harvard Medical School, recently told Discover.

Three of the experiment’s key findings are especially relevant today. The first is that, in general, there were diminishing returns to mutation over time: the bacteria made many of their most reproductively advantageous moves early on. A second finding, however, was that the bacteria never stopped getting fitter. Seventy thousand generations in, they’re still finding new ways to improve, albeit at a somewhat slower rate. “I had sort of imagined that things would have flatlined,” Lenski told me recently, when we spoke over Zoom. “But there seem to be endless possibilities for tinkering and progress. If there is a hard limit, it’s so, so far away that it’s impractical to consider on an experimental timescale—maybe even a geological timescale.”

More here.

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25 Comments

  1. I found this article to be interesting and fearsome for what the future holds in regards to the Corona Virus. Before reading this article, I was familiar with that both our body and infections evolve, but I never realized how quickly a bacteria was able to modify itself to reproduce into a stronger version. The fact that bacterium can now reproduce 70 percent faster than in the past and double under 45 minutes amazes me. It also makes me wonder how today’s pandemic, the Coronavirus, will continue to evolve shortly. It took us some time to suppress and combat it with a vaccine, but along the way, many humans died. What is more worse is that we’re already seeing the virus evolve into what is known as the Delta variant. Reading all the three possibilities intrigued me on how much more damage Coivd could do to our world, but I hope that it never gets to those points and the world can live normally with Covid.

  2. Although much of the information concerning Covid itself wasn’t news to me, the possibility for a rare, incredibly dangerous mutation existing is worrying, to say the least. Lenski’s experiment is perfectly applicable to the ways in which we are monitoring the developments of the Delta strain of the Covid-19 virus. As we have been monitoring its infection rate, growth rate, and how it bypasses our immune system in new ways, we have begun to uncover increasingly worrying dangers of the new strain. The potential strain that a new form of Covid could have on our society is immeasurable. The last large infection spike effectively shut down the United States for a year. Given that Covid could have its own, as Lenski dubs it, “citrate-moment,” we could see a complete collapse of our current systems. Even now, cases are spiking in unvaccinated populations across the country. Burioni’s propositions about the path the virus could potentially take paint a relatively bleak picture about where we are headed. As he mentions, while we are capable of producing and changing the vaccines to fit the mutations of the virus, doctors are failing to vaccinate a large majority of the global population. The only hope that we have of combating this virus, before it has time to evolve within unvaccinated and vaccinated patients, is for us to achieve herd-immunity. Our political climate, as well as the ‘concerns’ about the development of the vaccine, have been a large contributor to the lacking number of vaccinated citizens in the US. Luckily, the T cells seem to be staying relatively strong, according to some researchers. This means that those who have received the vaccine will, for the most part, be safe from the dangerous symptoms of Covid-19. As with other viruses, Covid will eventually begin slowing down its mutations, allowing humanity to properly adjust and effectively combat most strains. The problem comes with how long this will take. This wait is incredibly stressful, and the lack of certainty from experts is causing a global divide in how to handle the virus from here on out. As we reach another infection peak, the US needs to begin large scale efforts to adapt society to the virus, otherwise we may see a 2019 collapse repeat itself.

  3. I think that more than anything this article relates to some of the fears that scientists have now of what could become of the coronavirus in the future. The findings that were made just show that there is no stopping of the evolution of even bacteria and that can cause for deadly variants to arise in the future, something we already see examples of today and this virus is still fairly young. Through all the precautions that have been taken to try and stop the spread of the virus, obstacles live different variants continue to arise and delay the return of doing everything normally like before we were ravaged by this virus. Many things like hesitancy to get vaccinated can be attributed to the problems of different variants coming up because most people still aren’t vaccinated and remain highly contagious to spreading and catching the virus. The future of society as a whole is threatened by the evolution of this virus and hopefully something can be done to stop it’s evolution and threat to the people.

  4. I thought that this article did not have much to do with the Coronavirus itself, but instead discusses what the long-term possibilities are if Covid is still spreading across the country. Before reading this article, I never knew how quickly bacteria can reproduce in such short periods of time. While the current vaccinations are very effective against the current strains of Covid, mutations will cause these vaccines to become useless against this virus. If the Coronavirus begins to end the lives of more people in America like it did back at the start of the pandemic, our country will once again see a major decline in the economy. Covid lockdowns across the globe would be a necessity if Covid were to come back at full force. The delta strain that has recently been going around in America is more contagious but is not deadlier than the strains at the start of the pandemic. In spite of this strain only being more contagious than older variants, future mutations of the Coronavirus could possibly be much more lethal than the current strains spreading across the US. Even though Covid mutations are inevitable in the future, what Americans should do now is get vaccinated for the current strains as soon as possible so they do not risk dying from this disease. While it is still possible to test positive for Covid if someone is fully vaccinated, Americans would be at a much lower risk if they chose to get the vaccine. If Americans do not want to receive the vaccine, they must wear a face mask at all times when they are inside a building so that they do not put others in danger. Since there will be potentially deadlier strains of Covid in the near future, it would be best for Americans to consider getting the booster shot so that they can remain immune to the virus. Both our country and the world’s economy will be devastated if action is not taken to prevent Covid from spreading across the globe. People of all ages need to take serious percussions against this disease.

  5. This is pretty nerve racking for our future with corona virus because this disease isn’t just going to go away, similar to the flu. This means that overtime it is going to evolve into different variants and one has already shown itself called the Delta Variant. Many more of these offspring’s are going to arise as time passes and hopefully we can fight them all.

  6. Much of the information that was presented in this article definitely expanded my knowledge about the process and function of the vaccines and of covid. While many are still keeping track of all the progress that has been made with the vaccines, I believe the main reason people are still reluctant to get the vaccines is merely just the lack of understanding, that surrounds the functions of the immune system. New information that I learned was that in order to boost immunity the success of the vaccine being effective needs the support of the B and T cells combination, it is not just the addition of antibodies. This is why another dose of the vaccine is being administered similarly to what we do with other vaccines that we need yearly to form a strong guard against the delta variant. Especially considering how different everyone’s body is. An example of this is one that is stated in the article, people who survived the outbreak of covid-1 in 2003 are still going to have the B cells/antibodies that will aid in combatting the covid-2 strain right now.
    I bring this up since I have been hearing a lot about how people do not want to take the vaccine again after receiving the two shots from either Pfizer or Moderna. This can be a bit alarming considering how more than half of the population doesn’t even have the first shot yet. So that means we will most possibly have to deal with another political issue about this topic. Additionally, one important piece of information that the article mentions that I believe should be a statement that is made to the public more often than it is, would be how these vaccines are giving us different types of antibodies as Tyler Starr an evolutionary Biologist said “when one set of antibodies drops the rope, another will pick it up” he goes on to say on how there will never be a variant that completely disappears from our immune system. The symptoms become less mild or we become more asymptomatic we just don’t know how long that process will take. This is why it is important to start the process of building immunity as soon as possible. There are still factors that have not yet been discovered so it is important to take as many precautions.
    I understand that the lack of knowledge is not the only contributor to people not getting vaccinated. Some of the reasons are because some people have health issues or lack access to them. However, the people who do not have this problem and still refuse to help themselves as well as the community is what are alarming. They are not only becoming a danger to themselves but to the people around them as well, if a more horrifying or deadly virus were to come to fruition this group of people will be the ones to be affected the most by it. Not only that, the bigger picture that I am trying to point out is that this will be a dilemma that will persist itself, whether it is with another strain of diseases that will not cease to exist. People need to come to realize or accept that with the world evolving along with technology, it is unwise to not improve our own selves as well to increase longevity. I mention this without bringing into consideration the myriad of other concerns that are happening in the world right now as well. We need to come together more and help one another. Because I am not certain that the world is prepared to have another lockdown if worse comes to worst.

  7. In this article it is made clear just how much harm bacteria can do and diseases like coronavirus. The virus can multiply very rapidly and this would mean that it could mean that the virus will reach out to more places and can spread out to further places. Also, as seen in the article, there is a possibility that the disease can form a mutation, which could be stronger and deadlier. We saw how covid stopped our lives completely and changed the way we’ve lived over the past two years. But it didn’t only just change our way of living, many people also passed away from contracting the disease. Some people were able to survive it but they’re health was never the same. Recently, there was an outbreak of a new strain of covid that is called the Delta Variant. This new mutation is more fatal and we still don’t have full knowledge on this variant and if we can create a vaccine for it. The scariest part about this is that we never will truly be safe from covid. Similar to others sicknesses like the flu, covid can’t go away. This means that the only protection we will have from it is new vaccines that scientists will be working on. It’s hard to believe but there is a chance that we won’t be able to go out in public without having to wear our masks and stay social distancing. Many people including me are anxious to continue life as it was before covid, but that may not be available in the foreseeable future. Something else that I found terrifying was that another point made by Lenski states that bacteria and diseases quickly evolve and never stop improving themselves. This is not good for us because this would mean that even if we create an antibody for a certain bacteria, it will only be a matter of time until that bacteria evolves to fight the antibody and overcome it. This isn’t good as it means scientists and doctors will have to work much harder on creating antibodies and vaccines for people before new strains or variants of diseases arise. Overall, I believe we won’t be able to live a pre covid lifestyle for years to come.

  8. This article taught me a lot about the many capabilities and the extent of evolution in viruses in general, specifically COVID-19. Prior to reading this article, I was vaguely familiar with the mutation process of viruses but was not aware of the speed at which many of these mutations take place. It is definitely scary to think that the global pandemic we are currently facing is evolving every second and is trying to find its way around our immune systems’ protective walls. What is even scarier, in my opinion, is the fact that there are still those who are reluctant to getting their COVID-19 vaccinations for whatever reason. There really is no excuse for choosing not to be vaccinated, and this article alone gives ample research and scientific backing to show why being vaccinated is for the betterment not only of the individual receiving it, but for the people around them. The inevitability of the virus’s mutation process is one thing, but the amount of people choosing not to put up an extra defensive wall against the original strain of the virus in their immune system, is another. This is ultimately a strong contributing factor as to why these strains are affecting the world so soon and so intensely.
    Another aspect of this article that I found interesting was the three potential futures for the coronavirus, according to Professor Roberto Burioni, Obviously, the best-case scenario is that we experience the first potential future, which is the possibility that the virus will lose its ability to evolve and therefore will be unable to overcome the vaccines. Unfortunately, with the way that the current Delta variant numbers have been tipping, the second and third potential futures seem more likely. In these cases, the virus will continue to mutate and will have a possibility to either become less infectious as they evolve or maintain their lethality. As the article mentioned, not even a quarter of the world’s population is fully vaccinated with the currently available vaccines. Overall, this article further proves the point that vaccinations are a necessary step toward the improvement of this virus. No vaccine is ever one-hundred percent effective, but that does not negate the fact that the current COVID-19 vaccines save thousands of lives daily against the original strain and now against the Delta variant. The way that I look at it is that it is your choice to let this article scare you about the potential future of this ever-evolving virus, or you can choose to soak up all the information given and use that to lead a healthier day-to-day life and help prevent those potential futures by simply getting vaccinated.

  9. This was one of the most interesting articles I have read regarding Covid since it is future focused and provides scientific information from various scientists on how they think this virus will evolve. While this pandemic is still relatively new and is constantly changing or mutating, scientists all around the world are learning more and more about it every day and sharing their findings and ideas with one another, so that we can try to put a stop to this pandemic. I also found it interesting and thought the inclusion of the E. coli experiment done by Richard Lenski in 1988 was a valuable piece of information for the author to add to the article to strengthen the argument. The experiment gave scientists a base foundation of knowledge on microorganisms and their ability to mutate which is something we are seeing often during this pandemic. It is intriguing to see just how similar most diseases are even though they may cause different symptoms or illness.
    Looking at it from a scientific perspective is fascinating because in the article it was mentioned how this virus is not much different than other infectious diseases, and that essentially there will be an end at some point; however, the amount of time it will take for it to end is unknown. And the so-called ending is also unknown at this point. However, there are only so many possible outcomes based on biology and according to the Italian virologist, Roberto Burioni, the three scenarios are, “In the first, the virus fails to meaningfully escape vaccine-generated immunity; in the second, it evades parts of the immune system but loses some of its contagiousness and virulence; and, in the third—the worst-case, and hopefully least-likely, scenario—it mutates around vaccines and continues to inflict serious damage, dealing a major setback to our efforts.” With how many different variables there are going into this, such as vaccinated or not, virus mutations, where people are located, etc. it is extremely hard to accurately predict the future and all we can really do is wait it out and see where things go, which is hopefully in the right direction.
    Also, it is important to think about this in a business/economic sense as well. The drastic impact that covid has had on the economy is something that we will be recovering from for a long time. Many businesses were shut down, others lost significant revenue, but some businesses such as disinfectant producers thrived. Seeing as though this virus is still mutating, there is the possibility of the economy shutting down again or experiencing extreme ups and downs as we navigate through this pandemic.

  10. This article illustrates one of the concerns that you hear about the coronavirus a lot, the possibility of mutation beyond control. Even though the article’s only reference to covid-19 is in its title, this article is very much related to the world’s current situation. Much like other organisms, viruses become more and more advanced as time goes on. What does this mean for us, this means that getting ahead of it is the most important thing to do now. If the virus is becoming more and more advanced, our current vaccine could potentially become useless. The key thing that stood out to me in the article is how that the virus that they were working with, never stopped trying to improve itself. Even though the rate of their evolution decreased, the virus was always trying to better itself in its level of sophistication. The testing went on for a while. Seventy-thousand tests in and it kept getting better and better. Information like this is very important today due to the recent increase in speculation about the possibility of having to take a third and fourth dose of vaccine for covid-19. Per usual, people are not happy about it. This article hear however shows that it is very much necessary though. Like I said before, if the virus keeps bettering itself, a new vaccine will undoubtedly become necessary. More articles like these need to come out especially in a time like this. People need to understand that vaccines are not magically going to keep you safe, there is a science behind it. Over the many years that the flu shot has been around, it has gone through many advancements and changes. In my opinion, people would rather brainwash their selves into thinking that everything is alright now so they can continue with their normal lives. This self-inflicted ignorance is what got us into the situation that we are in today. Lastly, while the article reading, I couldn’t help but compare the evolutionary elements of bacteria to that of a human. Much like bacteria, the human race is always trying to better itself.

    • Hey Rob, I believe you made some great comments here, specifically in regards to the idea of how vaccines need to be evolved to fit the different strains of a virus such as COVID-19. Furthermore, I do believe it is important to point out that all hope is not lost for vaccines to be effective for different variants. Although the variants may not fully be dealt with by a single vaccine the point still stands that it can help minimize the effects of the virus(depending on how different the strain is compared to the one the vaccine was made for.) Therefore, I believe the vaccines should not be discounted completely but you are still correct in regards to the idea/subject of the vaccines not fully allowing us to go back to normal life and doing everything we did about a year and a half ago.

      Thanks.

  11. I think this article made a lot of great points. Specifically in the area of how dangerous coronavirus can be, especially due to how often it can mutate. Therefore, this causes many different strains to all be spread simultaneously as even more variations are beginning and making their way through the population. Additionally, this can be proven due to the big delta variant being spread currently. Although we are not all panicking on a large scale just yet, it is safe to assume we may reach that point if it is spread at a similar rate as the ones from the past that crippled the world in many ways. Therefore, I believe this article is very accurate in stating the fact that due to how quickly this virus can spread, we should be cautious and try to stop a large spread of this virus.

    Also, the main idea of mutation can be scary to think about but it is also very real in terms of the effect it can have on all of us. As mentioned in the article, we really do not know which way this might go. Therefore, it is pretty much a waiting game to see what happens next, but also there is the important aspect of being willing and ready to deal with issues that arise. More specifically variants, how they interact with the body, and how to handle them in a good manner that does not cause the issue to escalate any more than it already needs to. Furthermore, as stated through the article another the infectiousness of each variant is also essential to the conversation of how bad they can be but also how easy it can be to handle it. Moreover, having variants that are not as infectious would allow for the issue to be smaller. Additionally, in the long run, it could be minimized through investigating and dealing with them. By having a higher infectiousness rate, you then face issues of trying to catch it, investigate, and deal with it all while it is spreading and infecting even more people which allows for the issue to be even greater.

    Also, when it comes to the coronavirus evolving, the issue of a changing environment can be thought of as a very difficult atmosphere to operate in and even try to solve due to how everything is constantly different. By having this issue, you cannot operate through a strategy of what was done in the past. You have to start new every time. Therefore, overall it can be thought of as scary. In the most reasonable reality, as it has been discussed for decades. these viruses do not go away, they just evolve and disappear to an extent. Therefore, the ideal hope is to get all variants and the virus as a whole under control enough that our vaccines minimize the effects of the virus meanwhile slowing it down and allowing the world to go on as ‘normal’ where the virus is not causing mayhem for many by just simply being in a public place with others.

  12. This article is very interesting and is a good wake-up call that this pandemic is still acute. At this very moment, the coronavirus tries to form new and possibly stronger mutations. The fact that the virus may, in the worst case, develop a mutation that makes vaccinations ineffective is very concerning. Vaccinations are our only way out of this pandemic or to slow down this pandemic. Of course, there is also the possibility of herd immunity through mass infections, but this option is unethical and highly risky. We are extremely lucky to live in a country where everyone is offered vaccination. In other, poorer countries, only a minority of the population has had the option to get vaccinated. However, we must understand that this pandemic is a global catastrophe and does not stop at any national borders. In order to fight the virus effectively, we must ensure that high vaccination rates prevail in all countries, because the more people who are not vaccinated, the more opportunities there are for the virus to form new mutations. To achieve these high vaccination rates, rich countries such as the USA, Germany, France, etc. must develop a plan together to provide more vaccines to developing countries. At the moment, I have the feeling that these rich countries are satisfied as the virus seems to be under control in their own countries. But this own progress could be destroyed by new variants. So, if there is more supply of vaccines in these developing countries, then you have to do intensive promotion of the vaccine to encourage as many people as possible to get vaccinated. Many experts agree that if you are not vaccinated, you will get the virus sooner or later. In addition to protecting yourself from a heavy illness course, the vaccination also protects others. Therefore, I see it also as a kind of moral duty to get vaccinated to protect groups of people who cannot get vaccinated for various reasons.

  13. This article increased my understanding of how viruses can mutate and evolve to potentially become more dangerous. Khullar explains that the COVID-19 virus “mutating” isn’t necessarily scientists’ biggest concern; instead, they are worried about a “second citrate movement” that will allow the virus to not be prevented by vaccines. The main concerns are that a new variant of the virus would either allow it to get past the current vaccine or that the change could make the virus more deadly and/or contagious. Khullar also describes that the Delta variant of the coronavirus is so concerning because it is extremely contagious compared to the other major variants.
    Throughout this article, Khullar refers to Roberto Burioni’s vision of how the coronavirus can potentially evolve. The likely possibility of the virus evolving brings up the question of how effective the COVID-19 vaccines can be. One way the virus can evolve is if it stops mutating in ways that can allow it to compromise the immune-defenses built by the vaccines. In this case, many people would likely be willing to rush out and get vaccinated because they would know that it is basically guaranteed to protect them. Burioni also discusses the possibility of the virus evolving and mutating enough to actually get around the immune defenses built up by the vaccines. If this happens, there are 2 potential possibilities. The virus could either lose what makes it so deadly in the process of mutating around the vaccine defense or it could stay just as deadly and infectious as before. If it loses what makes the virus so concerning, then individuals may still be inclined to get vaccinated because even though it wouldn’t prevent an individual from getting infected, it could prevent the virus from being harmful. The other, and most concerning, possibility is for the virus to be able to mutate around the immune defenses that the vaccine made without losing what makes it so contagious and/or deadly. If this is the case, then many individuals (especially those on the fence about getting vaccinated in the first place) will most likely refuse to get vaccinated if they believe that it’s not going to help them. The idea would be that all of the efforts by scientists to try to stop the spread of the virus was useless and therefore getting vaccinated would be a waste of time, effort, energy, and money (the government’s money, not individual’s money) because nothing would change. Burioni points out that even if the virus mutates around the vaccine, scientists would be able to “modify… vaccines to confront new variants.” If this was possible, there would still likely be individuals who wouldn’t want to get vaccinated out of fear of the virus mutating again and being able to get around the new virus. Basically, they would be afraid that the cycle would start all over again.

  14. Lenski’s experiment really puts into perspective how fast bacteria can grow and evolve. I already had an idea that bacteria populations grow at an extremely rapid pace but I was never able to truly wrap my head around it. After understanding how bacteria such as the E.coli in Lenski’s experiment, can “[produce] about six new generations”(Khullar) a day, it is easy to see how these bacteria can mutate and evolve so quickly. I think this is where everyone’s fear comes from with viruses like SARS-COV-2, the one responsible for COVID-19. We have already seen many mutations of the virus, a particularly worrying strain being the Delta variant. The problem is that the virus will only continue to mutate and grow stronger, much like the E.coli bacteria in Lenski’s experiments. The CDC mentions that the Delta variant is “more than 2x as contagious as previous variants”(CDC, 2021), which makes one wonder about the dangerous possibilities of future variants. With vaccines, like the ones from Pfizer and Moderna, providing immunity from the virus, the virus must find new ways to grow stronger. There is a possibility that the virus can even mutate to the point where it renders our vaccines ineffective, which is scary to think about. If it comes to that point, all of our progress of the past year and a half would be pushed back. A new vaccine would have to be developed and the potential lockdowns of the future would be detrimental to businesses everywhere, a repeat of last year.

    This article also makes you wonder about potentially dangerous viruses in the future. The author mentions that the “citrate” moment of SARS-COV-2 mutating to be able to leap into humans, is “a process that has occurred with every infectious disease in history—measles, tuberculosis, bubonic plague, influenza, and untold others”(Khullar). This raises fear into the possibility of other, potentially deadlier viruses having a “citrate” moment. Luckily, with the advancements of healthcare technology, we may never see diseases as detrimental as the bubonic plague for example, which killed about one third of the population of Europe from 1347 to the early 1350’s. This pandemic did teach us however, that we were unprepared for such a pandemic such as COVID-19, with many overcrowded hospitals, overworked healthcare workers, lack of ventilators being all over the news. We must be prepared for future mutations of SARS-COV-2 and pandemics of the future as it is certain that this pandemic is far from over and it will not be the last.

  15. This article expanded my knowledge of how different variants of bacteria can replicate and how many variants of the coronavirus and other diseases their have been. It is astonishing and alarming to think that bacteria can reproduce so fast. Richard Lenski wanted to understand the mechanics of evolution and found that bacteria can reproduce 70% faster than before and found a new chemical compound that aids in the growth of bacteria. While we may be able to predict bacteria growth we never know when it will happen and when it might stop.

    The article stated that the delta variant will not be the last variant of the coronavirus but due to the vaccines we should be able to combat the anticipated new variants of the virus better because vaccines can be modified to confront it. The only issue is that much of the population is not vaccinated which will only hinder the flattening of coronavirus.

    In current news, we see that President Biden has announced a vaccine mandate or regular testing to be required for the population. This announcement will help combat the virus more because even with new variants of the vaccine we will be able to adapt to them more and be able to move forward into a new normal. The article also states that vaccines can help disease be less infectious or lethal. We just need to look back at history, SARS-CoV-1 existed two decades ago, polio, HIV among other disease as well. While some of these diseases are still common almost all of them don’t experience the same systems and ‘attacks’ on their immune system due to vaccines. In a case with news that vaccines or regular testing is mandated a general counsel with help the company to understand the law and make the write decisions based off the of the law for the company while still supporting the people within the company.

  16. There have been many viruses and diseases in the past which have eventually died out. Like the Spanish Flu, the Black Plague, etc. Yet our tackle with the coronavirus has been different, and mainly because of the speed at which it mutates.

    The coronavirus has impacted everyone’s lives in one way or another, and now we see different mutations popping up all the time. This is extremely alarming because even these scientists are noticing a change in the speed of mutation.

    The main concern is that what would occur if the mutations speed up even faster, this could eventually lead to more people being affected, and even mass death as we have seen. And the reality is there isn’t much we can do, except taking the vaccine which many people are not in favor of.

    And now there are finding out that this new Delta variant is not affected as much by the vaccine, does that mean there will be a constant production of vaccines to fight these mutations, only time will tell and we can hope for the best.

  17. The article written by Khuller is a fairly simple article to understand, but yet it has expanded my knowledge on bacteria and viruses greatly. The article does a fantastic job at putting bacteria growth into perspective. Before even reading this article, I had a general understanding that bacteria and viruses are always changing and adapting to their surrounding environments. I already knew that viruses continually change to the extent that new strains are always popping up and that some vaccines may eventually lose their effeteness against the new strains. The mind-blowing part learned from the article is the actual rate of how fast bacteria grows. Lenski’s experiment demonstrates how bacteria in a controlled environment is able to produce six generations of bacteria in one single days. For me, this rate of bacteria growth is pretty hard to wrap my head around because the growth was happening at an insane rate within a controlled experiment that consisted of E. coli growing and multiplying in flasks. The shocking part is applying the experiment to the real world because in reality viruses such as SARS-COV-2, which is responsible for covid 19, are not growing in controlled flasks in lab Instead, the viruses are multiplying and evolving all across millions and millions of people throughout the entire world.

    All of this information about viruses continually mutating forever is very scary because the entire world was in lock down due to a virus that was ended up infecting and killing millions of people. As of right now, the main worry across the world is the delta variant because it is more contagious than the version of covid. For obvious reasons, new variants of covid are scary because the world do not want to deal with crippling worldwide pandemic. Instead of worrying about the more well-known delta variant, scientists are more about any future variant that experiences a second citrate mo. A variant experiencing a second citrate movement adapts to a point where the current vaccines no longer protect anyone from the variant. In reference, the first citrate movement of SARS-COV-2 was when the virus learned to “leap” into humans and spread at a very fast rate. Yes, all of this information does come with a good amount of fear but there some key takeaways. The major takeaway from this article is the world must learn to prepare for pandemics to the best of its abilities. Nowadays the world has great technology and healthcare systems that allow us to fight against diseases, viruses, and sicknesses, but the most recent covid pandemic proved that the world was not ready to handle a virus of this extent. In a way, the world can’t fully rely on healthcare technology to solve everything right away so there must be other cautious preparations.

  18. In the article, “How Will the Coronavirus Evolve?”, written by The New Yorker, it discusses how E. coli and other bacteria evolved to become stronger and spread faster over time. That seems to be a trend with different bacterias and diseases, which could be bad news when it comes to COVID-19. COVID has been around for a long time now, long enough for us to gain very good knowledge on the disease. Humans were able to find out about new variants, and create a vaccine to help protect us against the virus. Myself, someone who is fully vaccinated, got the virus and is now in quarantine. I think that does a good job of showing that the current vaccines we have can definitely use some work. Due to the facts about the survival rate and the true danger that this virus causes, I think the time has come for us to resume our normal lives. Many people have begun to realize that in recent months and are sick of COVID related lockdowns. Most of the United States is doing a good job with completely reopening and making our lives normal again, but unfortunately we are lucky to get the chance to live normally again. If you look at a nation like Australia, they are still completely shut down and rules on COVID restrictions are more strict than ever. Luckily, in the US, we are for the most part completely opened up and are thriving because of that. Although we are open now, that may not last. Because of new variants and evolution of the virus it can get stronger, which would cause continued closure. That is obviously something nobody would want to see happen, but is definitely possible and is a fear for many people. Another closure would cause another crash of the economy and the end of many more small businesses that can not operate under the circumstances of another closure. Hopefully we do not see another closure due to COVID and we can continue on the right path of reopening.

  19. This article did a great job of revealing just how complex the coronavirus really is. The Lenski experiment on E-coli was eye opening, and a little discomforting, as to how rapidly viruses can evolve, mutate and reproduce. When you look at the corona virus and all of the concerns surrounding the delta variant, this experiment makes it even more unnerving. It was comforting to learn that the results of the experiment determined that the bacteria had its most advanced mutations early on, even though they never stop improving fitness. The vaccines, produced by Moderna and Pfizer, are designed to combat the current virus and mutations however, there is a legitimate fear that the virus could undergo another citrate movement that would allow it to out maneuver the current vaccine, rendering it ineffective.

    Prior to reading this article, I was already familiar with antibodies and how they prevent infection, but I found it interesting to learn about the role of T cells, and how they control and terminate infection. People with T cell memory from being infected with the coronavirus have shown immunity for over eight months, proving to be a strong self defense for the human body. T cell statistics are much more informative than antibodies, but the expense and equipment required to gather data on T cells is most likely the reason antibodies are getting the most attention.

    The article concluded by providing some clarity, as to how the pandemic would end, by including the scenarios outlined by Roberto Burioni. The first, and best case, scenario is the vaccine does its job and promotes immunity. The second scenario is that the virus is able to mutate its way through the vaccine, but is less contagious and deadly. The third and worst case scenario is the virus mutates around the vaccine and remains as dangerous as ever. Either way, it appears as if the vaccine gives you the best chance of fighting off the coronavirus.

    I really connected to this article, being that when Covid took over the world, it also took over my household. In addition to my Aunt being the New Jersey State Secretary of Health, my mom is a lab rep for Quest diagnostics, and as Covid forced her to work from home, I was constantly over hearing phone calls regarding the tests they offer. I was especially interested in the section of the article that explained the role of antibodies and how they fight off the virus, because one of the most popular tests my mom offers is the antibody test.

  20. Reading through this article is specifically worrying because the human race has experienced many different diseases before and has ultimately died off over time, but only because those diseases did not mutate very easily/quickly unlike what we have seen so far from Covid-19. I knew diseases could change to some extent, but reading through this article has really opened my eyes to what extensive changes or mutations diseases can go through without us knowing what they may do next or even do things we didn’t even know were possible. According to the article, it’s saying that the people not getting vaccinated are the hosts of the disease to mutate and create more mutations than we can keep up with our vaccinations. It seems the longer people don’t get vaccinated allows the virus to mutate until the point we won’t be able to keep up with all its mutations and it will once again affect the people that decided to get vaccinated early. The question really is what the government’s next steps will be to fill out the virus without stepping over unconstitutional lines. Until the entire population of the united states decides to get the vaccine Covid-19 will continue to mutate into different forms and continue morphing when another vaccine is released.

  21. As the virus replicates, a little change sometimes occurs. These changes are called “mutations.” A virus with one or more new mutations is called a “variant” of the original virus. The more the virus spreads, the greater the possibility of change. Compared with the original virus, these changes may sometimes make the virus variant more adapt to its environment. Change the transmission, it may be more easily spread and more serious.

  22. This article “How Will the Coronavirus Evolve?”, written by Dhruv Khullar is not complex to read and understand as my knowledge about viruses has expanded due to the events that have occurred the past couple of years. Though it is not a complex article, it brings so much more information and knowledge that I did not know about bacteria and viruses, specifically their growth. Khullar does a great job using Lenski’s experiment to set up the viewpoint of bacteria growth making it more intriguing to read further and further into the article. I already had a general understanding that viruses and bacteria were fully capable of continuously changing, forming different variants of their original form. These new variants that form, cause vaccines that were already created and in use to slowly lose their effectiveness. The part in the article that made me stop to read again because Lenski’s findings were so eye popping was the part about the growth rate of the bacteria in the flasks. For bacteria (in this case E. coli) to grow six new generations in one day within a controlled environment, one can only fathom what SARS-CoV-2 can do. It is crazy how this experiment can be seen in the world right now as SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the creation of Covid-19, is mutating into different variants. The worst part is, this virus/bacterium is not in a controlled lab in test tubes, but in the setting of an uncontrolled environment with millions and millions of flasks (people) which scientists cannot research or study day to day. With the potential of SARS-CoV-2 mutating and hitting another “citrate” moment makes it frightening that all the progress scientists have, reset to square one. None of the vaccines would work to provide immunity such as the Pfizer, Moderna, and J&J vaccinations with a greater possibility of future lockdowns and economic collapses again.

    This article should really make the public think about how cautious to be around others and their cleanliness. Also, how prepared to be in case of another lockdown or variant/ “citrate moment” to come out that makes the current vaccinations nonfunctional. Luckily people’s fear should be at a minimum since it is 2021, the advances in technology and healthcare have skyrocketed since the Spanish Flu. Since this generation is blessed to have those advances viruses/diseases may never get out of hand as a vaccine should be created within a short time period of a year. Although our advances in technology and healthcare have increased, the world was not prepared at all as there was overcrowding in hospitals and low resources of cleaning material. A key takeaway from this article is to inform yourself about bacteria and viruses with how they spread so everyone can reduce the number of times it is able to mutate creating a less of a percentage of that “citrate moment.” Another takeaway is to be prepared since the entire world cannot rely on healthcare technology to take care of themselves as the world saw overcrowding hospitals and a rush to create a working vaccine.

  23. This article,”how will the coronavirus evolve,” is a very interesting read and is very easy to comprehend. My knowledge of the virus has grown exponentially over the last year. It is not a very complex article but brings a lot of information about the virus and bacteria that I had never considered. This article puts into light the bacteria from the virus is always changing and adapting to certain environments. Something the article says is how fast bacteria grows. Lenski’s experiment demonstrates how bacteria in a controlled environment are able to produce six generations of bacteria in one single day. Before reading this article I was familiar with the term antibodies. Something I didn’t know was about the T cells and what role they play. People with T cell memory from being infected with the coronavirus have shown immunity for over eight months, proving to be a strong self defense for the human body. Along with this we get some information regarding mutations. A virus with one or more new mutations is called a “variant” of the original virus. The more the virus spreads, the greater the possibility of change. The little information the article gives us is so factual that everything in it is something I didn’t know before. One thing the article doesn’t really emphasize that much is that covid is still around.The last large infection spike effectively shut down the United States for a year. Given that Covid could have its own, as Lenski dubs it, “citrate-moment,” we could see a complete collapse of our current systems. Even now, cases are spiking in unvaccinated populations across the country. Covid is very much still here as much as it hurts to stay. But the vaccination rate is increasing, and more and more people are getting vaccinated. The question really is what the government’s next steps will be to fill out the virus without stepping over unconstitutional lines. Until the entire population of the United States decides to get the vaccine Covid-19 will continue to mutate into different forms and continue morphing when another vaccine is released. As much as reading about covid and science, this article was a good read. I connected with it and got very interested. I got to learn much more about the different variants, the bacteria associated with it, the different T Cells. Hearing all this information gives me up that society will go back to normal.

  24. I picked this article because it came out a few months ago and many people responded to this one when it was first posted on ShannonWeb. At the top of the article, it states that delta will not be the last variant of COVID-19. While, another variant of the virus has not broken out, with the evidence the author provides, that still seems to be a valid statement. As the author states, while there are diminishing returns of mutation over time, the virus will still find new ways to persist and improve. While the article does a good job talking about how the virus could evolve, when I finished the article, I was wondering how this virus will make society evolve. One effect I have seen from the virus is the need to understand technology as many workspaces (and even still school) have met electronically rather than in person. That looks to be a permanent change as working electronically is more cost effective by cutting down the cost of offices among other expenses. Additionally, I wonder when people will no longer have to wear masks in public places while indoors. Personally, since the article provides evidence that this virus is not set to go away anytime soon, I believe that we will be wearing masks indoors for the long term future. I feel that we will be wearing masks for at least the next three years but more realistically, more than five. Finally, as the article discusses, I am worried we will have to take more vaccines to combat the virus. This will be an issue as a large population are currently unvaccinated which will allow the virus to continue to spread but also makes it hard to believe they will get this new vaccine. Also, what happens if these vaccines do not work effectively? At one point during the pandemic, healthcare was scarce and obviously that is not ideal. It is scary to think of some bad possibilities that can happen in the future due to the persistent nature of the virus. Nevertheless, we will have to evolve as a society with the virus so we can continue to be productive.

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