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纽约时报双语:英国出现新冠病毒变种意味着什么?

英国出现新冠病毒变种意味着什么?
The Coronavirus Is Mutating. What Does That Mean for Us?
APOORVA MANDAVILLI
2020年12月21日
纽约时报双语:英国出现新冠病毒变种意味着什么?

Just as vaccines begin to offer hope for a path out of the pandemic, officials in Britain this past weekend sounded an urgent alarm about what they called a highly contagious new variant of the coronavirus circulating in England.

就在疫苗刚为摆脱这场疫情带来希望之际,英国官员上周末发出紧急警告,称一种新的具有高度传染性的新冠病毒变种正在英国传播。

Citing the rapid spread of the virus through London and surrounding areas, Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed the country’s most stringent lockdown since March. “When the virus changes its method of attack, we must change our method of defense,” he said.

鉴于该病毒在伦敦及周边地区迅速蔓延,首相鲍里斯·约翰逊(Boris Johnson)下令实施英国自3月以来最严格的封锁措施。“当病毒改变攻击手段时,我们也必须改变防御手段,”他说。

Train stations in London filled with crowds of people scrambling to leave the city as the restrictions went into effect. On Sunday, European countries began closing their borders to travelers from the United Kingdom, hoping to shut out the new iteration of the pathogen.

随着限制措施生效,伦敦的火车站挤满了赶着出城的人群。周日,欧洲国家开始对来自英国的旅客关闭边境,希望将这种病原体的新迭代拒之门外。

In South Africa, a similar version of the virus has emerged, sharing one of the mutations seen in the British variant, according to scientists who detected it. That virus has been found in up to 90 percent of the samples whose genetic sequences have been analyzed in South Africa since mid-November.

在南非出现了一种类似的病毒版本,据发现该病毒的科学家表示,它与英国的变种中看到的一种突变相同。自11月中旬以来,南非对样本的基因序列进行了分析,在90%的样本中都发现了该病毒。

Scientists are worried about these variants but not surprised by them. Researchers have recorded thousands of tiny modifications in the genetic material of the coronavirus as it has hopscotched across the world.

科学家们对这些变种感到担心,但并不惊讶。当新冠病毒在全世界传播时,研究人员记录了该病毒遗传物质中成千上万个细微变异。

Some variants become more common in a population simply by luck, not because the changes somehow supercharge the virus. But as it becomes more difficult for the pathogen to survive — because of vaccinations and growing immunity in human populations — researchers also expect the virus to gain useful mutations enabling it to spread more easily or to escape detection by the immune system.

一些变种在人群中变得更常见仅仅是运气使然,而不是因为变种以某种方式增强了病毒。但随着病原体的生存变得越来越困难——因为人类接种了疫苗,以及免疫力的不断增强——研究人员还预计,病毒会获得有用的突变,使其更容易传播或避免被免疫系统发现。

“It’s a real warning that we need to pay closer attention,” said Jesse Bloom, an evolutionary biologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. “Certainly these mutations are going to spread, and, definitely, the scientific community — we need to monitor these mutations and we need to characterize which ones have effects.”

“这是个真正的警报,我们必须更加关注,”西雅图弗雷德·哈钦森癌症研究中心(Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center)的进化生物学家杰西·布鲁姆(Jesse Bloom)说。“这些突变当然会传播,而且毫无疑问,科学界——也就是我们——需要监测这些突变,并描述哪些突变会产生影响。”

The British variant has about 20 mutations, including several that affect how the virus locks onto human cells and infects them. These mutations may allow the variant to replicate and transmit more efficiently, said Muge Cevik, an infectious disease expert at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and a scientific adviser to the British government.

英国的病毒变种大约有20个突变,其中有几个会影响病毒锁定人体细胞并将其感染的方法。苏格兰圣安德鲁斯大学(University of St. Andrews)传染病专家、英国政府科学顾问米盖·切维克(Muge Cevik)表示,这些突变可能会令该变种更有效地复制和传播。

But the estimate of greater transmissibility — British officials said the variant was as much as 70 percent more transmissible — is based on modeling and has not been confirmed in lab experiments, Dr. Cevik added.

但对更大范围传染性的估计——英国官员称这一变种的传染性要高出70%——基于建模,并未在实验室实验中得到证实,切维克博士补充说。

“Over all, I think we need to have a little bit more experimental data,” she said. “We can’t entirely rule out the fact that some of this transmissibility data might be related to human behavior.”

“总而言之,我认为我们需要再多一点的实验数据,”她说。“我们不能完全排除这样一个事实,即某些传染性方面的数据可能与人类行为有关。”

In South Africa, too, scientists were quick to note that human behavior was driving the epidemic, not necessarily new mutations whose effect on transmissibility had yet to be quantified.

在南非,科学家们也很快指出,人类行为是推动疫情传播的原因,而不一定是新的突变,后者对传染性的影响尚未量化。

The British announcement also prompted concern that the virus might evolve to become resistant to the vaccines just now rolling out. The worries are focused on a pair of alterations in the viral genetic code that may make it less vulnerable to certain antibodies.

英国宣布的消息也令人们担心病毒可能对刚推出的疫苗演化出抗性。担忧的焦点是病毒基因密码中的一对改变,可能导致其不易受到某些抗体的攻击。

But several experts urged caution, saying it would take years — not months — for the virus to evolve enough to render the current vaccines impotent.

但一些专家敦促人们保持谨慎,称该病毒需要数年而不是数月,才能进化到使现有疫苗失效的程度。

“No one should worry that there is going to be a single catastrophic mutation that suddenly renders all immunity and antibodies useless,” Dr. Bloom said.

“不必担心出现某种单一的灾难性突变,使所有的免疫和抗体突然失效,”布鲁姆博士说。

“It is going to be a process that occurs over the time scale of multiple years and requires the accumulation of multiple viral mutations,” he added. “It’s not going to be like an on-off switch.”

“这将是一个发生在多年跨度内的过程,需要多种病毒突变的积累,”他还说。“这跟按下开关不一样。”

The scientific nuance mattered little to Britain’s neighbors. Worried by the potential influx of travelers carrying the variant, the Netherlands said it would suspend flights from Britain from Sunday until Jan. 1.

对英国的邻国来说,科学上的细微差别并不重要。由于担心携带变种病毒的旅客可能大量涌入,荷兰表示,从周日到明年1月1日将暂停从英国起飞的航班。

Italy also suspended air travel, and Belgian officials on Sunday enacted a 24-hour ban on arrivals from the United Kingdom by air or train. Germany is drawing up regulations limiting travelers from Britain as well as from South Africa.

意大利也暂停了航空旅行,比利时官员周日颁布了一项24小时禁令,禁止来自英国的飞机或火车入境。德国正在起草限制来自英国和南非游客的规定。

Other countries are also considering bans, among them France, Austria and Ireland, according to local media. Spain has asked the European Union for a coordinated response to banning flights. Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York asked the Trump administration to consider banning flights from Britain.

据当地媒体报道,法国、奥地利和爱尔兰等其他国家也在考虑颁布禁令。西班牙已经要求欧盟就禁飞拿出协调对策。纽约州州长安德鲁·科莫(Andrew Cuomo)要求特朗普政府考虑禁止来自英国的航班。

In England, transport officials said that they would increase the number of police officers monitoring hubs like railway stations to ensure only essential journeys were being taken. The country’s health secretary, Matt Hancock, on Sunday called those who were packing trains “clearly irresponsible.”

在英国,交通官员表示,他们将增加警力监控火车站等枢纽,确保人们只进行必要出行。英国卫生大臣马特·汉考克(Matt Hancock)周日称,那些挤进火车的人“显然是不负责任的”。

He also said that the restrictions Mr. Johnson imposed could be in place for months.

他还表示,约翰逊实施的限制可能会持续数月。

Like all viruses, the coronavirus is a shape-shifter. Some genetic changes are inconsequential, but some may give it an edge.

同所有病毒一样,新冠病毒也是变化多端的。有些基因改变无关紧要,但有些可能为其带来优势。

Scientists fear the latter possibility, especially: The vaccination of millions of people may force the virus to new adaptations, mutations that help it evade or resist the immune response. Already, there are small changes in the virus that have arisen independently multiple times across the world, suggesting these mutations are helpful to the pathogen.

科学家们尤其担心后一种可能:数以百万计的人接种疫苗可能迫使病毒产生新的适应和突变,从而帮助它避免或抵抗免疫反应。病毒已经出现了一些细微变化,在世界各地多次独立出现,说明这些突变对病原体是有帮助的。

The mutation affecting antibody susceptibility — technically called the 69-70 deletion, meaning there are missing letters in the genetic code — has been seen at least three times: in Danish minks, in people in Britain and in an immune-suppressed patient who became much less sensitive to convalescent plasma.

这类影响抗体易感性的突变——术语上被称为69-70缺失,意思是基因密码中有缺失的字母——至少被发现了三次:在丹麦水貂身上、在英国人身上,以及在一名免疫功能不全的患者身上,该患者对康复期血浆的敏感度大大降低。

“This thing’s transmitting, it’s acquiring, it’s adapting all the time,” said Dr. Ravindra Gupta, a virologist at the University of Cambridge, who last week detailed the deletion’s recurrent emergence and spread. “But people don’t want to hear what we say, which is: This virus will mutate.”

“这个东西一直在传播、发展、适应,”剑桥大学(University of Cambridge)的病毒学家拉文德拉·古普塔(Ravindra Gupta)说。他上周详细描述了这种缺失的反复出现和扩散。“但是人们不想听我们说的话,即:这种病毒会变异。”

The new genetic deletion changes the spike protein on the surface of the coronavirus, which it needs to infect human cells. Variants of the virus with this deletion arose independently in Thailand and Germany in early 2020, and became prevalent in Denmark and England in August.

新的基因缺失改变了新冠病毒表面用于感染人类细胞的刺突蛋白。带有这种缺失的病毒变种在2020年初独立出现在泰国和德国,并于8月在丹麦和英国流行。

Several recent papers have shown that the coronavirus can evolve to avoid recognition by a single monoclonal antibody, a cocktail of two antibodies or even convalescent serum given to a specific individual.

最近的几篇论文表明,新冠病毒可以进化以避免被单个单克隆抗体、两种抗体的混合物甚至是给予特定个体的康复期血清所识别。

Fortunately, the body’s entire immune system is a much more formidable adversary.

幸运的是,人体的整体免疫系统是一个更加强大的对手。

The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines induce an immune response only to the spike protein carried by the coronavirus on its surface. But each infected person produces a large, unique and complex repertoire of antibodies to this protein.

辉瑞-BioNTech和莫德纳疫苗仅对新冠病毒表面携带的刺突蛋白诱导免疫反应。但是每个受感染的人都会针对这种蛋白产生大量、独特而又复杂的抗体库。

“The fact is that you have a thousand big guns pointed at the virus,” said Kartik Chandran, a virologist at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. “No matter how the virus twists and weaves, it’s not that easy to find a genetic solution that can really combat all these different antibody specificities, not to mention the other arms of the immune response.”

“事实是,你有一千把机枪对准这种病毒,”纽约阿尔伯特·爱因斯坦医学院(Albert Einstein College of Medicine)的病毒学家卡蒂克·钱德兰(Kartik Chandran)说。“无论病毒如何扭曲和交织,要找到一种能真正抵抗所有这些不同抗体特异性的基因解决方案并非易事,更不用说免疫反应的其他武器了。”

In short: It will be very hard for the coronavirus to escape the body’s defenses, despite the many variations it may adopt.

简而言之:尽管新冠病毒可能会采取多种变体,但它很难摆脱人体的防御系统。

Escape from immunity requires that a virus accumulate a series of mutations, each allowing the pathogen to erode the effectiveness of the body’s defenses. Some viruses, like influenza, amass those changes relatively quickly. But others, like the measles virus, collect hardly any of the alterations.

要摆脱免疫系统,病毒必须积累一系列突变,每个突变都会使病原体侵蚀人体防御系统的效力。某些病毒,例如流感病毒,会相对迅速地积累这些变化。但是其他病毒,例如麻疹病毒,几乎不会积累任何改变。

Even the influenza virus needs five to seven years to collect enough mutations to escape immune recognition entirely, Dr. Bloom noted. His lab on Friday published a new report showing that common cold coronaviruses also evolve to escape immune detection — but over many years.

布鲁姆指出,即使是流感病毒也需要五到七年的时间,才能收集到足够的突变,以便完全摆脱免疫识别。他的实验室在周五发表的一份新报告显示,普通感冒的冠状病毒也可以进化到摆脱免疫检测——但这要经过很多年。

The scale of the infections in this pandemic may be quickly generating diversity in the new coronavirus. Still, a vast majority of people worldwide have yet to be infected, and that has made scientists hopeful.

在这次大流行中,感染规模之大可能会令新冠病毒很快产生多样性。尽管如此,全世界绝大多数人尚未受到感染,这使科学家们感到充满希望。

“It would be a little surprising to me if we were seeing active selection for immune escape,” said Emma Hodcroft, a molecular epidemiologist at the University of Bern in Switzerland.

瑞士伯尔尼大学(University of Bern)的分子流行病学家艾玛·霍德克罗夫特(Emma Hodcroft)说:“如果我们看到的是病毒免疫逃逸的主动选择,那我会感到有些惊讶。

“In a population that’s still mostly naïve, the virus just doesn’t need to do that yet,” she said. “But it’s something we want to watch out for in the long term, especially as we start getting more people vaccinated.”

“在大多数人未被感染的人群中,病毒还不需要这样做,”她说。“但从长远来看,这是我们需要提防的事情,尤其是当我们开始为更多的人接种疫苗的时候。”

Immunizing about 60 percent of a population within about a year, and keeping the number of cases down while that happens, will help minimize the chances of the virus mutating significantly, Dr. Hodcroft said.

霍德克罗夫特说,在大约一年之内为大约60%的人群进行免疫接种,并在此期间降低病例数,将有助于最大程度地减少病毒突变的机会。

Still, scientists will need to closely track the evolving virus to spot mutations that may give it an edge over vaccines.

尽管如此,科学家仍需要密切追踪进化中的病毒,以发现可能使其拥有领先于疫苗的突变。Just as vaccines begin to offer hope for a path out of the pandemic, officials in Britain this past weekend sounded an urgent alarm about what they called a highly contagious new variant of the coronavirus circulating in England.

就在疫苗刚为摆脱这场疫情带来希望之际,英国官员上周末发出紧急警告,称一种新的具有高度传染性的新冠病毒变种正在英国传播。

Citing the rapid spread of the virus through London and surrounding areas, Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed the country’s most stringent lockdown since March. “When the virus changes its method of attack, we must change our method of defense,” he said.

鉴于该病毒在伦敦及周边地区迅速蔓延,首相鲍里斯·约翰逊(Boris Johnson)下令实施英国自3月以来最严格的封锁措施。“当病毒改变攻击手段时,我们也必须改变防御手段,”他说。

Train stations in London filled with crowds of people scrambling to leave the city as the restrictions went into effect. On Sunday, European countries began closing their borders to travelers from the United Kingdom, hoping to shut out the new iteration of the pathogen.

随着限制措施生效,伦敦的火车站挤满了赶着出城的人群。周日,欧洲国家开始对来自英国的旅客关闭边境,希望将这种病原体的新迭代拒之门外。

In South Africa, a similar version of the virus has emerged, sharing one of the mutations seen in the British variant, according to scientists who detected it. That virus has been found in up to 90 percent of the samples whose genetic sequences have been analyzed in South Africa since mid-November.

在南非出现了一种类似的病毒版本,据发现该病毒的科学家表示,它与英国的变种中看到的一种突变相同。自11月中旬以来,南非对样本的基因序列进行了分析,在90%的样本中都发现了该病毒。

Scientists are worried about these variants but not surprised by them. Researchers have recorded thousands of tiny modifications in the genetic material of the coronavirus as it has hopscotched across the world.

科学家们对这些变种感到担心,但并不惊讶。当新冠病毒在全世界传播时,研究人员记录了该病毒遗传物质中成千上万个细微变异。

Some variants become more common in a population simply by luck, not because the changes somehow supercharge the virus. But as it becomes more difficult for the pathogen to survive — because of vaccinations and growing immunity in human populations — researchers also expect the virus to gain useful mutations enabling it to spread more easily or to escape detection by the immune system.

一些变种在人群中变得更常见仅仅是运气使然,而不是因为变种以某种方式增强了病毒。但随着病原体的生存变得越来越困难——因为人类接种了疫苗,以及免疫力的不断增强——研究人员还预计,病毒会获得有用的突变,使其更容易传播或避免被免疫系统发现。

“It’s a real warning that we need to pay closer attention,” said Jesse Bloom, an evolutionary biologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. “Certainly these mutations are going to spread, and, definitely, the scientific community — we need to monitor these mutations and we need to characterize which ones have effects.”

“这是个真正的警报,我们必须更加关注,”西雅图弗雷德·哈钦森癌症研究中心(Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center)的进化生物学家杰西·布鲁姆(Jesse Bloom)说。“这些突变当然会传播,而且毫无疑问,科学界——也就是我们——需要监测这些突变,并描述哪些突变会产生影响。”

The British variant has about 20 mutations, including several that affect how the virus locks onto human cells and infects them. These mutations may allow the variant to replicate and transmit more efficiently, said Muge Cevik, an infectious disease expert at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and a scientific adviser to the British government.

英国的病毒变种大约有20个突变,其中有几个会影响病毒锁定人体细胞并将其感染的方法。苏格兰圣安德鲁斯大学(University of St. Andrews)传染病专家、英国政府科学顾问米盖·切维克(Muge Cevik)表示,这些突变可能会令该变种更有效地复制和传播。

But the estimate of greater transmissibility — British officials said the variant was as much as 70 percent more transmissible — is based on modeling and has not been confirmed in lab experiments, Dr. Cevik added.

但对更大范围传染性的估计——英国官员称这一变种的传染性要高出70%——基于建模,并未在实验室实验中得到证实,切维克博士补充说。

“Over all, I think we need to have a little bit more experimental data,” she said. “We can’t entirely rule out the fact that some of this transmissibility data might be related to human behavior.”

“总而言之,我认为我们需要再多一点的实验数据,”她说。“我们不能完全排除这样一个事实,即某些传染性方面的数据可能与人类行为有关。”

In South Africa, too, scientists were quick to note that human behavior was driving the epidemic, not necessarily new mutations whose effect on transmissibility had yet to be quantified.

在南非,科学家们也很快指出,人类行为是推动疫情传播的原因,而不一定是新的突变,后者对传染性的影响尚未量化。

The British announcement also prompted concern that the virus might evolve to become resistant to the vaccines just now rolling out. The worries are focused on a pair of alterations in the viral genetic code that may make it less vulnerable to certain antibodies.

英国宣布的消息也令人们担心病毒可能对刚推出的疫苗演化出抗性。担忧的焦点是病毒基因密码中的一对改变,可能导致其不易受到某些抗体的攻击。

But several experts urged caution, saying it would take years — not months — for the virus to evolve enough to render the current vaccines impotent.

但一些专家敦促人们保持谨慎,称该病毒需要数年而不是数月,才能进化到使现有疫苗失效的程度。

“No one should worry that there is going to be a single catastrophic mutation that suddenly renders all immunity and antibodies useless,” Dr. Bloom said.

“不必担心出现某种单一的灾难性突变,使所有的免疫和抗体突然失效,”布鲁姆博士说。

“It is going to be a process that occurs over the time scale of multiple years and requires the accumulation of multiple viral mutations,” he added. “It’s not going to be like an on-off switch.”

“这将是一个发生在多年跨度内的过程,需要多种病毒突变的积累,”他还说。“这跟按下开关不一样。”

The scientific nuance mattered little to Britain’s neighbors. Worried by the potential influx of travelers carrying the variant, the Netherlands said it would suspend flights from Britain from Sunday until Jan. 1.

对英国的邻国来说,科学上的细微差别并不重要。由于担心携带变种病毒的旅客可能大量涌入,荷兰表示,从周日到明年1月1日将暂停从英国起飞的航班。

Italy also suspended air travel, and Belgian officials on Sunday enacted a 24-hour ban on arrivals from the United Kingdom by air or train. Germany is drawing up regulations limiting travelers from Britain as well as from South Africa.

意大利也暂停了航空旅行,比利时官员周日颁布了一项24小时禁令,禁止来自英国的飞机或火车入境。德国正在起草限制来自英国和南非游客的规定。

Other countries are also considering bans, among them France, Austria and Ireland, according to local media. Spain has asked the European Union for a coordinated response to banning flights. Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York asked the Trump administration to consider banning flights from Britain.

据当地媒体报道,法国、奥地利和爱尔兰等其他国家也在考虑颁布禁令。西班牙已经要求欧盟就禁飞拿出协调对策。纽约州州长安德鲁·科莫(Andrew Cuomo)要求特朗普政府考虑禁止来自英国的航班。

In England, transport officials said that they would increase the number of police officers monitoring hubs like railway stations to ensure only essential journeys were being taken. The country’s health secretary, Matt Hancock, on Sunday called those who were packing trains “clearly irresponsible.”

在英国,交通官员表示,他们将增加警力监控火车站等枢纽,确保人们只进行必要出行。英国卫生大臣马特·汉考克(Matt Hancock)周日称,那些挤进火车的人“显然是不负责任的”。

He also said that the restrictions Mr. Johnson imposed could be in place for months.

他还表示,约翰逊实施的限制可能会持续数月。

Like all viruses, the coronavirus is a shape-shifter. Some genetic changes are inconsequential, but some may give it an edge.

同所有病毒一样,新冠病毒也是变化多端的。有些基因改变无关紧要,但有些可能为其带来优势。

Scientists fear the latter possibility, especially: The vaccination of millions of people may force the virus to new adaptations, mutations that help it evade or resist the immune response. Already, there are small changes in the virus that have arisen independently multiple times across the world, suggesting these mutations are helpful to the pathogen.

科学家们尤其担心后一种可能:数以百万计的人接种疫苗可能迫使病毒产生新的适应和突变,从而帮助它避免或抵抗免疫反应。病毒已经出现了一些细微变化,在世界各地多次独立出现,说明这些突变对病原体是有帮助的。

The mutation affecting antibody susceptibility — technically called the 69-70 deletion, meaning there are missing letters in the genetic code — has been seen at least three times: in Danish minks, in people in Britain and in an immune-suppressed patient who became much less sensitive to convalescent plasma.

这类影响抗体易感性的突变——术语上被称为69-70缺失,意思是基因密码中有缺失的字母——至少被发现了三次:在丹麦水貂身上、在英国人身上,以及在一名免疫功能不全的患者身上,该患者对康复期血浆的敏感度大大降低。

“This thing’s transmitting, it’s acquiring, it’s adapting all the time,” said Dr. Ravindra Gupta, a virologist at the University of Cambridge, who last week detailed the deletion’s recurrent emergence and spread. “But people don’t want to hear what we say, which is: This virus will mutate.”

“这个东西一直在传播、发展、适应,”剑桥大学(University of Cambridge)的病毒学家拉文德拉·古普塔(Ravindra Gupta)说。他上周详细描述了这种缺失的反复出现和扩散。“但是人们不想听我们说的话,即:这种病毒会变异。”

The new genetic deletion changes the spike protein on the surface of the coronavirus, which it needs to infect human cells. Variants of the virus with this deletion arose independently in Thailand and Germany in early 2020, and became prevalent in Denmark and England in August.

新的基因缺失改变了新冠病毒表面用于感染人类细胞的刺突蛋白。带有这种缺失的病毒变种在2020年初独立出现在泰国和德国,并于8月在丹麦和英国流行。

Several recent papers have shown that the coronavirus can evolve to avoid recognition by a single monoclonal antibody, a cocktail of two antibodies or even convalescent serum given to a specific individual.

最近的几篇论文表明,新冠病毒可以进化以避免被单个单克隆抗体、两种抗体的混合物甚至是给予特定个体的康复期血清所识别。

Fortunately, the body’s entire immune system is a much more formidable adversary.

幸运的是,人体的整体免疫系统是一个更加强大的对手。

The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines induce an immune response only to the spike protein carried by the coronavirus on its surface. But each infected person produces a large, unique and complex repertoire of antibodies to this protein.

辉瑞-BioNTech和莫德纳疫苗仅对新冠病毒表面携带的刺突蛋白诱导免疫反应。但是每个受感染的人都会针对这种蛋白产生大量、独特而又复杂的抗体库。

“The fact is that you have a thousand big guns pointed at the virus,” said Kartik Chandran, a virologist at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. “No matter how the virus twists and weaves, it’s not that easy to find a genetic solution that can really combat all these different antibody specificities, not to mention the other arms of the immune response.”

“事实是,你有一千把机枪对准这种病毒,”纽约阿尔伯特·爱因斯坦医学院(Albert Einstein College of Medicine)的病毒学家卡蒂克·钱德兰(Kartik Chandran)说。“无论病毒如何扭曲和交织,要找到一种能真正抵抗所有这些不同抗体特异性的基因解决方案并非易事,更不用说免疫反应的其他武器了。”

In short: It will be very hard for the coronavirus to escape the body’s defenses, despite the many variations it may adopt.

简而言之:尽管新冠病毒可能会采取多种变体,但它很难摆脱人体的防御系统。

Escape from immunity requires that a virus accumulate a series of mutations, each allowing the pathogen to erode the effectiveness of the body’s defenses. Some viruses, like influenza, amass those changes relatively quickly. But others, like the measles virus, collect hardly any of the alterations.

要摆脱免疫系统,病毒必须积累一系列突变,每个突变都会使病原体侵蚀人体防御系统的效力。某些病毒,例如流感病毒,会相对迅速地积累这些变化。但是其他病毒,例如麻疹病毒,几乎不会积累任何改变。

Even the influenza virus needs five to seven years to collect enough mutations to escape immune recognition entirely, Dr. Bloom noted. His lab on Friday published a new report showing that common cold coronaviruses also evolve to escape immune detection — but over many years.

布鲁姆指出,即使是流感病毒也需要五到七年的时间,才能收集到足够的突变,以便完全摆脱免疫识别。他的实验室在周五发表的一份新报告显示,普通感冒的冠状病毒也可以进化到摆脱免疫检测——但这要经过很多年。

The scale of the infections in this pandemic may be quickly generating diversity in the new coronavirus. Still, a vast majority of people worldwide have yet to be infected, and that has made scientists hopeful.

在这次大流行中,感染规模之大可能会令新冠病毒很快产生多样性。尽管如此,全世界绝大多数人尚未受到感染,这使科学家们感到充满希望。

“It would be a little surprising to me if we were seeing active selection for immune escape,” said Emma Hodcroft, a molecular epidemiologist at the University of Bern in Switzerland.

瑞士伯尔尼大学(University of Bern)的分子流行病学家艾玛·霍德克罗夫特(Emma Hodcroft)说:“如果我们看到的是病毒免疫逃逸的主动选择,那我会感到有些惊讶。

“In a population that’s still mostly naïve, the virus just doesn’t need to do that yet,” she said. “But it’s something we want to watch out for in the long term, especially as we start getting more people vaccinated.”

“在大多数人未被感染的人群中,病毒还不需要这样做,”她说。“但从长远来看,这是我们需要提防的事情,尤其是当我们开始为更多的人接种疫苗的时候。”

Immunizing about 60 percent of a population within about a year, and keeping the number of cases down while that happens, will help minimize the chances of the virus mutating significantly, Dr. Hodcroft said.

霍德克罗夫特说,在大约一年之内为大约60%的人群进行免疫接种,并在此期间降低病例数,将有助于最大程度地减少病毒突变的机会。

Still, scientists will need to closely track the evolving virus to spot mutations that may give it an edge over vaccines.

尽管如此,科学家仍需要密切追踪进化中的病毒,以发现可能使其拥有领先于疫苗的突变。

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