Coronavirus Mutating Into Possibly More Infectious Strain, Says Study

by Amitabh Joshi 10 months ago Views 1365

The novel coronavirus is mutating and evidence suggests this is likely making it more contagious, according to a new study.

Researchers at the Scripps Research Institute in Florida stated that “viruses with this mutation were much more infectious than those without the mutation in the cell culture system we used”.

The finding may have implications for the development of a COVID-19 vaccine, though it is still too early to say.

The research paper says that “SARS coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) isolates encoding a D614G mutation in the viral spike (S) protein predominate over time in locales where it is found, implying that this change enhances viral transmission”. Recent analyses of the fine-scale sequence variation of SARS-CoV-2 isolates identified several genomic regions of increased genetic variation, the study stated.

Mutated virus strains could explain the high number of infections in the US and now Latin America

On Friday, the World Health Organization said that Coronavirus mutations are not likely to influence a vaccine. The WHO’s chief scientist, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, had said that "the mutations have not been shown to be in those regions of the virus — the spike protein, the receptor binding domain — that are going to alter the efficacy of a vaccine so far”.

However, new developments in studies may have to be taken into account now.

Meanwhile, in the first comprehensive study into the distinct and predominant cluster characteristics of SARS-CoV-2 in India earlier this month, research by scientists at the Centre For Cellular And Molecular Biology, Hyderabad, under the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), identified “a distinct phylogenetic cluster (Clade I / A3i) of SARS-CoV-2 genomes from India, which encompasses 41% of all genomes sequenced and deposited in the public domain from multiple states in India”.


It is still not known as to the virulence of this type, other than it differs from global strains in that only 3.5% of the genomes submitted worldwide have the same trait.

The study by the CCMB researchers was posted on bioRxiv, a preprint server for biology.

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