New Variant of COVID-19 Is More Common and Dangerous than the Original

The academic journal Cell now contains some promising new research. It would appear that a specific change has occurred within the genome of SARS-CoV-2. This genome was associated with a higher risk of transmission and the ubiquitous spread of COVID-19 in the past few months, according to various studies. The variant we are talking about is called D614G, and it is a very small, but highly effective change in the Spike protein of the virus. That is the protein that the virus uses to enter human cells.

What Does D614G Do?

Researchers first laid their eyes on the D614G in the early days of April, but they started to focus on it when they noticed that the pattern kept repeating itself. All around the globe, even in cases where local epidemics had a lot of cases of the original form of the virus going around, the D614G variant appeared and eventually became the most common form found. This information was made public by Bette Korber, a theoretical biologist affiliated with the Los Alamos National Laboratory and the lead author of the study.

Some geographic information collected from samples of the virus sequence database have boosted efforts of tracking this trend of shifting from the initial form to the D614G variant. This trend has been noticed in many places and at every single geographic level: city, county, subcountry and country.

What Does the Scientific Community Say?

Two different lines of experimental device that support the preliminary results have been included in the paper that was recently released. These experiments have been conducted by by Professor Erica Ollmann Saphire, Ph.D., at the La Jolla Institute, and by Professor David Montefiori, Ph.D., at Duke University. The experiments prove that the D614G variant leads to a higher rate of infectivity in lab conditions. All of these experiments, together with a bigger sequence and even clinical data, are in the academic journal Cell.

Melanie J. Gullett
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