Mutation In Coronavirus
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Mutation In Coronavirus Increases Its Ability To Infect Cells

According to a study conducted by U.S. researchers, a specific mutation in the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 can significantly increase its ability to infect cells.

According to scientists at Scripps Research, the study may explain why Italy and Newyork were hit hard by the novel coronavirus, while the early outbreaks in certain parts of the world did not cause much damage.

The number of spikes on the coronavirus was increased by a mutation named D614G. It is the spikes that give the virus a distinct shape and allows it to bind and infect human cells.

Hyeryun Choe, one of the senior authors of the study, said the number of spikes was increased by 4 or 5 times, due to this particular mutation. And the mutated virus was 9 times efficient in infecting cells in test-tube experiments. Whether this small mutation can increase the mortality or symptoms of infected people is still unknown.

Michael Farzan, another lead researcher, said it is hard to believe that this mutation in coronavirus does not have some effect on symptoms. However, he also mentioned that he doesn’t expect the virus to evolve as dramatic as D614G for

a while.

Moreover, the mutated virus was just as vulnerable to the neutralizing antibodies from the recovered COVID-19 patients.
More research, including controlled studies, is required to confirm the findings they obtained from test-tube experiments, said researchers conducting lab experiments.

There were reports before that said the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 is evolving and mutating as it adapts to human hosts. However, D614G appears to be emerging as a dominant mutation and seems to be an urgent concern.

The study on mutation in coronavirus by Scripps Research was released on Friday and is currently undergoing peer review. Scripps Research is a nonprofit American medical research facility established for research and education in biomedical sciences.