Aug. 20, 2021
Viral evolution 101: Why the coronavirus has changed as it has, and what it means going forward
It is impossible to say how the coronavirus will continue to evolve. Those changes, after all, are a result of random mutations. But there are some fundamental principles that explain why the virus has morphed as it has, principles that could guide our understanding of its ongoing evolution – and what that means for our future with the pathogen. When populations have high levels of immunity, "it favors (variants) that have some sort of escape mutation that doesn't throw a monkey wrench in the transmission side of things," said Michael Worobey, a professor of evolutionary biology at the University of Arizona.