Due to the large variety of symptoms found in patients with COVID-19, it is very likely that there is also a wide diversity in strains of SARS-CoV-2, including weakened or less severe strains, which may cause milder symptoms. Finding such strains could be of great importance in speeding up vaccine development. Such attenuated viruses are still in use today for amongst others polio and measles. These vaccines are usually created by passaging viruses countless times until they accumulate many mutations, thus weakening the virus, but with the wealth of sequencing data coming online, it would be quicker to search for mild versions of the virus.
That is the scope of a recently published article in Environmental Microbiology, co-authored by Ineke and Peter and spearheaded by Eelco van Anken, a former PhD student of Ineke and postdoc of Peter.
The article and its message was picked up by several national news outlets, with interviews with Ineke and Eelco in the DUB and the Telegraaf, as well as interviews with Ineke on Radio Veronica, 1Vandaag and Radio1.