Viruses can mutate. They typically replicate by injecting their genetic material into a cell, use the cell’s own genetic material replication system to create more copies of the virus. When a virus makes copies of itself, its genetic material can sometimes be altered slightly due to contact with genetic materials of the host. These changes are called ‘mutations’. “A virus mutates for survival, not to kill,” explains virologist Dr Kenny Voon Gah Leong. “Humans are a reservoir for viruses such as the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus responsible for COVID-19. We help them propagate more. They don’t want to kill us, the host. If the host dies, there is no co-existence.” Learn more about this at The Mutation & the Evolution of the Virus Responsible for the COVID-19 Disease (Health Today, August 2021).