People suffering from COVID-19 may have various variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus hidden away from the immune system in different parts of the body, according to the findings of two studies.
A international team led by researchers from the University of Bristol, UK, and Max Planck Institute for Medical Research in Germany said that this may make complete clearance of the virus from the body of the infected person a lot more difficult.
The studies, published in the journal Nature Communications, show how the virus can evolve distinctly in different cell types, and adapt its immunity, in the same infected host.
“An incessant series of variants have completely replaced the original virus by now, with Omicron and Omicron 2 (a subvariant) dominating worldwide,” said Professor Imre Berger from the University of Bristol.
“We analysed an early variant discovered in Bristol, BrisDelta. It had changed its shape from the original virus, but the pocket we had discovered was there, unaltered,” Berger said.