Darwin's theory of evolution applies not only to the human species, but to all living things on earth, including animals, birds, bacteria, and viruses. This is the reason why there are many changes in the structure of this virus even in the case of covid infection! That's why scientists are looking at the evolution of more contagious and dangerous forms of the corona
Theory vs reality
Evolution is often thought to be just a theory. It is said that there is no direct evidence of evolution. But is it really so? In fact, in scientific language, an explanation based on evidence and logic is called a 'theory'. Currently, B1.1.7, a more contagious genetic variant of SARS-Cove-2, is spreading in the UK and other countries. It has come to us now. There is a very close relationship between this genetic type and the theory of evolution.
This B1.1.7 genetic variant of SARS-Cove-2 became the focus of discussion overnight, as it spreads more than 50 percent faster than other SARS-Cove-2 genetic variants. Evanna, you may have known that this is due to genetic changes in B1.1.7. These genetic changes led to changes in the spike proteins of the virus that made them more sticky to receptors on human cells. This has increased the ability of this genetic type to infect human cells and has also been shown to increase the load of toxins in the body. And perhaps that is why this genetic type has increased its ability to pass from one human to another. Meanwhile, similar genetic variants are being found in South Africa and now in Brazil.
In fact, even before this new and more contagious genetic strain was identified, scientists began examining the genetic makeup of the SARS-Cove-2 virus found in patients around the world. In just a few months, they discovered thousands of genetic variants of the virus. Like B1.1.7, all of these species are caused by a natural process of genetic mutation. But since most of these genetic mutations are mild, there has been little change in the characteristics of the virus. However, specific genetic changes in B1.1.7 have allowed this type to spread rapidly. Naturally, it began to outperform all other genetic variants in Britain, and in some areas, it has completely disappeared from others. In other words, B1.1.7 is winning the 'competition' in the SARS-Cove-2 genetic variant.
Process of evolution
In all of this, you may not even realize that you are watching this evolutionary game on the world stage with your own eyes. Evolution is not just a theory. The process of evolution can be observed directly and the changes caused by evolution can be predicted. In the nineteenth century, Darwin and Wallace frequently observed that even members of the same species of living things differed slightly from one another. They also often saw species of the same species competing with each other. He accurately recognized that the evolution of different species is due to the species in the same species, the competition between them, and the advantage that one species derives from it. In his time, Darwin and Wallace proposed the theory of evolution, mainly on the study of the anatomy and behavior of living things and the study of fossils. But since then, many researchers have observed the process of evolution in nature many times. Not only that, even in the laboratory, the evolution of different organisms can be seen, and taking advantage of this, researchers study the process of evolution in-depth under different conditions. In a sense, based on the observations and studies that Darwin, Wallace, and other scientists have made so far about evolution, we can draw some important plans for the further evolution of a virus-like SARS-COV-2.
Well, this is not the first time we have seen the evolutionary process on a global scale. Another problem that develops before covid is antibiotic or antimicrobial resistance (AMR). In the twentieth century, antibiotics helped us to treat many infections and save millions of lives. But as with all living things, naturally occurring genetic mutations, bacteria, and other microorganisms already have multiple genetic variants. Some of these types were already resistant to antibiotics. Extensive use of antibiotics has caused competition among bacteria to favor these resistant strains. As a result, they are now commonplace around the world. A similar evolution has taken place between the DDT-resistant strains of mosquitoes and the non-Bt cotton bond larvae. Such evolution takes place not only on the global stage but also within our bodies. Cancer is always associated with genetic mutations. But we rarely realize that the types of cancer cells produced by genetic mutations compete with each other in our body. The ones that fight off your immune system and drugs are the ones that thrive. This is also evolution! This makes the fight against cancer more difficult.
Evolution is bad or good
Of course, not all the consequences of evolution are bad or so fast. In the last thousands of years, human beings have evolved vegetables like wheat, maize, rice, cow-buffalo for their own benefit. Before that, the ancestors of all these living things had evolved naturally. But we continue to grow by selecting specific genetic variants that are naturally occurring, but beneficial to us. As a result, certain types benefited more than others, and they flourished. We all taste the fruits of this success of evolution. In all of this, some of us may think that human beings are an exception to evolution. But the last few millennia have benefited a variety of human genetic variants that can digest milk in adulthood, or survive in low-oxygen environments in the highlands, or resist past infectious diseases. This is reflected in the differences in the current human genetic makeup.
Over the last two centuries, our understanding of evolution has become more and more profound and modern. But SARS-Cove-2 and all other living things on Earth are also evolving. E.g. Genetic variants of viruses that do not respond to vaccination can develop. This is seen every year in the case of the flu virus (influenza, not SARS!). Once vaccinated, some genetic strains of the flu virus evolve and escape from the immune system, so the flu vaccine has to be updated and re-vaccinated every year. Research so far has shown that the rate of genetic mutations in SARS-Cove-2 is slower than that of the flu. So less likely to happen. But researchers are keeping an eye on how effective the various vaccines are against the newly evolving variants of SARS-Cove-2!
This small virus and its many adverse effects on our health gave us a glimpse of how complex our biological world is. But it is the evolution that causes both the beauty and the complexity of our biodiversity! Therefore, if the human species and all other biodiversities on Earth are to be preserved, there is no better time to discuss, understand, and support evolutionary research.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2021 Yogesh prakash sawant
Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on January 26, 2021:
Nice article Yogesh. Keep on writing.