An increased common mutation of the deadly coronavirus infection has been found in North America, Europe, and some parts of the Asian continent. According to a prominent infectious disease doctor, it has been analyzed and concluded that it may be more infectious but interesting appears less deadly.
The president-elect of the International Society of Infectious Diseases and a senior consultant at the National University of Singapore, Mr. Paul Tambyah said that the evidence is suggesting that the proliferation of the D614G mutation in some parts of the globe has coincided with a decline in death rates and that directly suggests that it is less lethal. Tambyah told Reuters that:
“Maybe that’s a good thing to have a virus that is more infectious but less deadly”
According to him most viruses tend to become less virulent as they mutate. He further stated that:
“It is in the virus’ interest to infect more people but not to kill them because a virus depends on the host for food and for shelter”
What is the D614G Virus?
One of the biggest problems that medical experts, scientists, and researchers have faced while dealing with this virus which showcased its power by conquering an era its name, COVID-19 pandemic is that the shortage of facts when it comes to characteristics of the virus. Given that SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that is responsible for causing COVID-19 and it is a new virus that has changed its symptoms, treatments, risk factors, and categories with time. While all these changes were happening a piece of new information about the virus has been received.
One common characteristic that has been analyzed about the virus is that it has been heard since the beginning tat the virus is capable to mutate quickly and drastically. And this has created a huge confusion among the researchers and the general public as to if the many vaccine candidates, and treatment methods that are currently underway, will work at all to fight against the life-threatening virus, or will these mutations will render them ineffective?
A virus can undergo 3 effects of the different mutations:
- the mutation can make the virus more contagious
- it may hinder the replication of the virus
- or it may not affect at all
But it is unfortunate to know that the D614G mutation is likely to increase the contagious nature of SARS-CoV-2. According to a study by Scripps University in Florida, the mutated strand might make it easier for the virus to enter human cells, and replicate itself further. Other studies have also proved the claim and said that the new strand might showcase itself to be more transmissible than the original version.
First Detection of D614G!
It was reported on the 17th of August, that a new mutated strain of the COVID 19 infection has been detected in Malaysia that shows the potential of being 10 times more infectious than the other strains. As per a report in Bloomberg, the mutation which was referred to as the D614G was found in at least 45 cases in a cluster and began from a restaurant owner.
We all know that this strain was reported in Malaysia recently but it has been acknowledged that this strain had originated soon after the initial outbreak in the Wuhan City located in China, in the previous year’s December month, and has been around since then. In fact, over 97% of global samples have this strain present.
Where did its name from? ~ D614G is the name of one of the mutations of the deadly coronavirus. As we already know that the coronavirus is made up of spike proteins and according to researchers, D614G is also present in those spikes itself. This mutation changes amino acid at the position 614, from D – aspartic acid, to G – glycine. Hence, it is named D614G.
More Infectious, Less Deadly!
The World Health Organization said that scientists did discover the mutation in the early February month of this year and it has circulated in Europe and the Americas. The WHO also said that there is no such evidence that the mutation has led to more severe disease.
On the 16th of August, after authorities detected what they believe was the D614G mutation of the coronavirus in two recent clusters, director-general of the health of Malaysia, Noor Hisham Abdullah urged for greater public vigilance. He also said that the detected D614G strain there 10 times more infectious and that vaccines that are currently under development may not be effective against this mutation.
Sebastian Maurer-Stroh of Singapore’s agency for science, technology, and research said that the variant has also been found in the city-state but the containment measures opted have prevented the large-scale spread of the same.
Paul Tambyah and Maurer-Stroh said that such mutations would not likely change the virus enough to make potential vaccines less effective. Maurer-Stroh said:
“(The) variants are almost identical and did not change areas that our immune system typically recognise, so there shouldn’t be any difference for vaccines being developed”
While experts are arguing that the mutations are not likely to have any effect on the efficiency of the vaccines which are under development, they said that even if that was the case, not more than 1 vaccine may be needed, because now, about all circulating SARS-CoV-2 strains across the globe are of the D614G variant.