In early 2020, before variants became front page news, a mutation in the genetic code of the coronavirus occurred inside the body of a single infected person. This resulted in the variant D614G, which soon became the dominant strain worldwide. Since then, more variants, including the ‘Kent’ variant, B117, have emerged across the world which improve the virus’s ability to transmit and spread through the population.
Evolutionary epidemiologist and Royal Society Sir Henry Dale Fellow, Katrina Lythgoe introduces us to the SARS CoV-2 particle, explains how mutations occur and how they can be picked up through genetic sequencing. We hear how sophisticated sequencing technology, like that used at the Big Data Institute, helps track the virus, both worldwide and at a local level, and could help us protect against mutations that resist vaccine immunity.