“SARS-COV-2 Mutations, Variants, and National Security,” is the title of a paper by Dr. Deon Canyon, Dr. Sebastian Kevany and retired Rear Adm. Michael S. Baker for Security Nexus. This article explains how COVID-19 mutations emerge, and how governments would be potentially remiss in turning away from health security protocols and issues, including funding for variant testing, even after the acute phase of the global pandemic is over.
Placing a priority on the surveillance of Covid mutations by investing in genomic sequencing is vital to ensuring a forward leaning posture and a proactive response to dangerous new variants. More frequent antigenic drift mutations are expected when a virus is under selection pressure from natural and vaccine conferred immunity. As we exert more pressure on Covid, more virulent mutations will evolve that could directly impact our ability to manage the pandemic. Perhaps the most important consequence of mutations for international security dynamics is that governments need to avoid politicization and focus on health security protocols and issues, including funding for variant testing, even after the acute phase of the global pandemic is over.
Drs. Canyon and Kevany are professors at the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies (DKI APCSS) in Honolulu, USA. Dr. Baker is a retired U.S. Navy rear admiral. The views expressed in this article are the author’s alone, and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the DKI APCSS or the United States Government.
Security Nexus is a peer-reviewed, online journal published by the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies.