New Covid variant evolution can be predicted by a novel model

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Researchers claim to have created a model that forecasts the likely evolution of COVID-19-causing S-CoV-2 virus variations.

The model’s predictions of viral evolution, according to researchers from the University of Cologne in Germany and the Icahn School of Medicine in the US, can be used to help create vaccines that are as effective as possible against potential future variations.

Predictive modeling is a mathematical technique that examines patterns in a given set of input data to forecast future occurrences or results.

Which of the Covid variants can evade human immunity, proliferate throughout the population, and ultimately emerge as new major variants is predicted by the model.

It also predicts probable escape evolution pathways before new Covid variants appear, according to a study that was published in the journal Cell. In subsequent epidemic waves during the S-CoV-2 pandemic, a new variant superseded the old one.

But now, a number of Covid variations are in competition with one another and are circulating concurrently throughout the world.

Predictive models are then crucial in identifying the variants that are most likely to become dominant in the near future, according to the researchers.

On the one hand, internal alterations in new variants may improve transmissibility. However, they noted that immunity to earlier versions has been developed through prior infections or immunizations.

These variables are used by the new model to compute fitness differences between variants.The study demonstrates that the primary driver of S-CoV-2’s evolution is now human immunity.

“This implies that the virus will continue to generate new variants even after the pandemic is over, and we need timely data on them,” Cologne Institute for Biological Physics Professor Michael Lassig said.

Lassig, the study’s lead author, stated, “Our results show how important continued, internationally coordinated surveillance of the S-CoV-2 virus is.”

The World Health Organization receives recommendations on influenza vaccine selection from Lassig’s lab, which has been working on predictive analysis of the flu virus for years.

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