A coronavirus mutation registered in the South of the United Kingdom is spreading faster than previous variants of COVID-19. Because of it, a number of European countries have already stopped flights to and from Britain. The new strain of coronavirus is said to be 70% more contagious. However, it is not necessarily more dangerous. Detection of a mutation is not uncommon. A new variant of the virus was circulating in China half a year ago. In the summer, another spread rapidly from Spain throughout Europe. Viruses mutate constantly, and in most cases the mutation has either minimal or no effect. How does the body react to mutations? The human body is usually able to deal with viruses on its own. It produces antibodies that protect it from virus attacks, creating immunity. However, when the pathogens mutate and the antibodies are programmed for an older version of the virus, they are no longer as effective. For this reason, for example, we regularly catch a cold. In the previous cold, our body has made the appropriate antibodies, but not those that help against the mutated virus. However, there is no reason to panic, because not every mutation makes the virus more dangerous. There are also such changes that can even significantly weaken it. How do mutations occur? When the human body builds antibodies against a virus, the new variant of the infection is forced to change its shell so that it is not recognized by the antibodies. To survive, the virus must change its external proteins and develop new strains. To multiply, viruses use a so-called. a host cell into which they penetrate and to which they transmit their genome. Thus, the cells in the body produce millions of copies of the virus. But with each of these reproductions, small errors occur in the reproduction of information, and these errors change the genetic code of the virus - it mutates. The SARS-CoV-2 virus, like all coronaviruses, is an RNA virus that mutates almost once a month. These different variants also explain why in certain parts of the world the virus causes infections of different severity and why the infection passes differently in different people. Are vaccines effective? Britain became the first Western European country to launch a large-scale immunization campaign. But the new mutation doesn't make the newly created vaccines meaningless. All of these drugs are designed to encode coronavirus information so that, despite the mutation, they stimulate our immune system. Fortunately, more mutations are needed for the virus to change its proteins so that they can bypass our immune defenses. At the same time, however, we know that influenza viruses, for example, mutate very quickly and vaccines must be adapted each season to remain effective. Therefore, coronavirus vaccines may also need to be adapted in the future. But the information gathered during the crisis and the newly created production capacities will ensure the rapid provision of cheap vaccines in the future.