Scientists are trying to figure out a mutation of the new coronavirus seen worldwide that some believe could make the virus more contagious, according to a report.
The coronavirus mutation, officially designated D614G or “G”, has been found to affect the virus spike protein, which is a structure that allows it to enter human cells. The more effective the spike protein, the easier it can enter a host’s body.
Research has suggested that the mutation, which changes the amino acid 614 from “D” (aspartic acid) to “G” (glycine), could make the peak protein more effective, which improves the infectivity of the virus, according to the Washington Post. .
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The researchers found that out of about 50,000 new virus genomes uploaded to a shared database, about 70 percent carried the mutation.
“The epidemiological study and our data together really explain why [G variant’s] spreading to Europe and the United States was very fast, “said Hyriun Choe, a virologist for Scripps Research.” This is not just random. “
Choe was the lead author of an unpublished study on the increased infectivity of the G variant in laboratory cell cultures. He said there were a couple of reasons why “G” was more effective at spreading the virus.
In the mutation, the external parts of those proteins that bind to a human receptor were less likely to break down, which was a defect in SARS-CoV-2, the Chinese-originated virus that causes COVID-19.
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The flawed mechanism made SARS-CoV-2 more difficult to invade host cells. He added that “G” has more peak proteins and said these reasons made the mutation 10 times more infectious in laboratory experiments, according to The Post.
“I think this mutation managed to compensate,” Choe said.
The mutation was also found to be more contagious in four studies that have yet to be peer-reviewed. A study by scientists from the Los Alamos National Laboratory concluded that patients with the “G” mutation also have multiple viruses in their bodies, making them more likely to spread it to others, the report says.
Others believe that further studies are needed to determine the effectiveness of the mutation in spreading the virus.
“The bottom line is that we haven’t seen anything definitive yet,” said Jeremy Luban, a virologist at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
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Choe added that the mutation didn’t affect the virus’s mortality for infected ones, only how infectious it became, according to the document.