Scientists have found outthat this change in the virus penetrates human cells more easily and is therefore probably more contagious than the original version. According to AFP, a new study in the scientific journal Cell claims that the results still need to be verified more thoroughly.
Coronavirus, like all other viruses, is constantly undergoing mutations. After SARS-CoV-2 spread from China to Europe, one of its variants became dominant, which scientists designated D614G. It has a slight difference in the original in the DNA in the place that affects the ability of the virus to penetrate human cells.
The researchers track coronavirus genetic mutations around the world, record their genome and share them in the GISAID database, which now records about 58,000 different SARS-CoV-2 gene sequences. Researchers from the universities of Sheffield and Duke University, together with staff from the Los Alamos laboratory, found in April that the D614G variant currently dominates the world and realized with some concern that its specific mutations appear to make it more transmissible among humans. However, they still had to verify their findings.
Therefore, they analyzed data from 999 patients hospitalized in Britain for covid-19 and found that people infected with the study variant had more viral particles in them. However, this did not reflect the severity of their disease, which was encouraging for scientists. Laboratory experiments have shown that D614G penetrates human cells three to six times more efficiently than the original coronavirus variant found in China.
However, researchers warn that laboratory findings may not yet faithfully replicate the virus’s behavior in the real world and its population spread. From a strictly scientific point of view, we can now only say that the D614G variant is more contagious, but that does not necessarily mean that it is really more widespread among humans. Other unknown factors or mere coincidence may have played a role in the expansion of this variant.
However, Nathan Grubaugh of Yale University and his colleagues noted in another article that this variant of the virus currently dominates the pandemic. “It is an interesting discovery that may affect millions of people, but for which we do not yet know its final impact. We discovered this virus six months ago and we will find out a lot more about it in the next six months,” he added.