British and American scientists discovered 13 mutations of the corona virus, and one is slowly gaining the upper hand over the other. However, it is not clear whether this mutation is more dangerous.
According to the South China Morning Post, researchers have identified a new mutation of the corona virus that becomes dominant compared to the remaining mutations, as the Covid-19 epidemic continues to spread around the world. However, it cannot be confirmed that this new strain will be more dangerous or more infectious than the original strain.
Bette Korber, a computer biology researcher at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, found 13 mutations in the S protein – the thorn that corona virus uses to infect human cells.
One of these mutations, called D614G, was described as an “urgent concern” because it has become a common mutation of the corona virus in many countries.
The study was published April 30 on bioRxiv.org, an open access site for preliminary research, before the author submits the work to prestigious journals. It has not been reviewed yet and is the subject of intense debate, as the authors provided no concrete evidence that the D614G mutation was more likely to infect than the original strain.
Scientists say it is normal to have mutations in the virus, but more research is needed to determine whether these mutations are more likely to infect or be more dangerous to human life.
Ms Korber’s research suggested that the D614G mutation was “associated with a greater likelihood of infection” and was detected more rapidly in March, after it was first identified in Germany.
The mutation also became dominant compared to other mutations, just a few weeks after appearing in European countries, Canada and the US, according to the researchers.
They also suggest that this mutation is expanding in Asian countries outside of China – where the original virus strain D614 once dominated.
Korber’s team also looked specifically at individuals with Covid-19 in Sheffield, UK to determine if the D614G mutation had an impact on the severity of the disease, but they found no correlation. Specific agencies show that.
Researchers at Los Alamos argue that because this mutation quickly dominates in a population, it can be concluded that it is more likely to infect than other mutations or the original virus strain.
However, some scientists reject this argument. Bill Hanage, a preparatory professor at Harvard’s TH Public School of Public Health, said the claims in the study were “suspicious”.
“We need to distinguish between selectivity – when a strain becomes popular because it has more descendants, and the founder effect – in which a variant becomes more common because it meets the conditions. lucky, “said Mr. Hanage.
“I mean this variant can be introduced to places outside of Wuhan fortunately, and the various social spacing measures have made it popular. Not because of a virus but because of what environmental conditions and opportunities for infection, “Mr. Hanage added.
Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Columbia University, also said that it is impossible to conclude that a potentially more infectious variant is based solely on its occurrence than other variants.
“They (the researchers) found a mutation that became dominant over time, but did nothing to prove that the mutation increased the likelihood of infection,” Rasmussen said.