As it commonly known, mutability is a fundamental characteristic of viruses which presents the ability of virus genome to adapt to physical circumstances, prevent and circumvent vaccine effect and to cover more ranges of carriers, animals and people categories.

COVID-19 belongs to RNA-viruses family, and RNA viruses is known to be very mutable, but how much this is true for COVID-19? How much in comparison with other viruses? I didn't found any reliable researches in this field except this expatiative article from EpiVax.

According to their research, this virus has little-to-zero T-epitopes cross-conservation which makes it very difficult to build a vaccine. Am I right?

What interests me more, is the mutability of the virus. Now mostly aged people are subject to fatality with this virus, but might the situation change later?

UPDATE: this question becomes especially acute and well-timed in light of recent revelations about SARS-CoV-2 is being transmissible from people to cats, from people to tigers, from people to dogs, and from cats to cats.

The study made by researchers at the Harbin Veterinary Research Institute in China proved the susceptibility of ferrets, cats and dogs to virus. Are there sny more species susceptible?

  • 2
    This isn't a good fit here, and Biology was suggested as a destination. The feedback from a Biology moderator is that it might be suitable with some improvement, as there are multiple questions, of which only the first two might be answerable as separate questions.
    – JohnP
    Feb 24, 2020 at 14:17
  • So could you please move it to Biology?
    – Suncatcher
    Feb 28, 2020 at 5:28

1 Answer 1


There has been at least one phylogenetic study of 48 near complete samples of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

sars-cov-2 phylogeny

and a more up to date link at Genomic epidemiology of novel coronavirus


  • Thanks for interesting info. It's pretty hard to estimate the results for me as a non-mathematician and non-statistician. Did they use NLL (negative likelihood)? Does it mean that likelihood is pretty large and mutability is negligible between groups?
    – Suncatcher
    Mar 25, 2020 at 8:38
  • Also do these groups (TCT,TCC,CTC) are representative? In the conclusion they state To determine whether viral sequences have novel mutations acquired during spreading the infection or just reflect the diversity of the place of origin, various SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences should be collected in the place of origin. That means they also have doubts in the results
    – Suncatcher
    Mar 25, 2020 at 8:39
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    Also it would be interesting to receive a results of CDMS analysis, but for that thousands of phenotypes should be taken for proper dataset
    – Suncatcher
    Mar 25, 2020 at 8:42

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