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Friday, May 8, 2020

D614G: Mutant Coronavirus Strain Emerges

D614G, Mutant Coronavirus

A mutant strain of coronavirus has emerged that may be even more contagious than the original, scientists have revealed.

A new study led by Los Alamos National Laboratory has identified a new new strain of the virus, dubbed Spike D614G.

The researchers believe the strain first appeared in Europe back in February, before migrating to the East Coast of the US and becoming the dominant strain worldwide.

In their study, published on BioRxiv, the researchers, led by Bette Korber, wrote: “The mutation Spike D614G is of urgent concern; it began spreading in Europe in early February, and when introduced to new regions it rapidly becomes the dominant form.”

Worryingly, the researchers believe that the new strain not only spreads faster, but may also leave people vulnerable to a second infection.

In the study, the team analysed more than 6,000 coronavirus sequences from around the world.

The analysis identified 14 mutations, but found that Spike D614G had transitioned to become the most dominant strain in the world.

D614G, Mutant Coronavirus

On her Facebook page, Ms Korber explained: “The story is worrying, as we see a mutated form of the virus very rapidly emerging, and over the month of March becoming the dominant pandemic form.

“When viruses with this mutation enter a population, they rapidly begin to take over the local epidemic, thus they are more transmissible.”

Delving deeper into the results, the researchers found that Italy was one of the first countries to see the new strain of the virus, in the last week of February.

And while New York was hit by the original strain around March 15, the mutant strain had taken over in a matter of days.

The findings could have impacts on the development of vaccines, which may become ineffective if the vaccine keeps mutating.

Ms Korber added: "We cannot afford to be blindsided as we move vaccines and antibodies into clinical testing.

“Please be encouraged by knowing the global scientific community is on this, and we are cooperating with each other in ways I have never seen … in my 30 years as a scientist."

However, the findings contradict a study published this week, which indicates that the virus could actually be weakening.

Researchers from Arizona State University have analysed samples from hundreds of coronavirus patients in Arizona, and have discovered changes to the virus’ genetic material.

These changes are similar to those seen in the SARS epidemic of 2003, and indicate that the virus could be weakening, according to the researchers.

In the study, the team analysed samples from 382 patients, and discovered the new mutation in one patient.

Speaking to dailymail.com, Dr Efrem Lim, who led the study, explained: “This is something we've seen before in the 2003 SARS outbreak during the middle and late phase of the outbreak, the virus acquired large deletions in these SS3 proteins.

“These proteins are not just there to replicate - they are in there to help enhance virulence and suppress the immune system [of the host].

“It evolved with a more attenuated from in the late phase of the epidemic.”

[ By Mirror UK ]

1 comment:

  1. Do you meant 'Virus' here?

    "The findings could have impacts on the development of vaccines, which may become ineffective if the *vaccine* keeps mutating.

    ReplyDelete