Does its mutation make the coronavirus even more dangerous? An influence on the infection rate is likely, as researchers found.
The number of infections is skyrocketing worldwide. The reason for this could be a mutation of the coronavirus, which turns out to be even more infectious than the previous variant.
The mutation D614G ensures that the coronavirus in its mutated form is even more contagious and dangerous, as researchers at the Houston Methodist Hospital in Texas emphasize in a new study. This is due to the changes in the spike proteins, with which the virus can now attach itself even better to human cells. To do this, they compared the two waves of infection.
The study was published on medrxiv.
Finding: More body cells infected due to mutation
Geneticists assume that the virus will adapt to the new host in the first few months. Most mutations will go away, but some have the potential to change the behavior of the virus. Something like that seems to be happening right now. The spread in the body is more extensive than with the first coronavirus type.
However, that does not automatically mean that it is also more deadly. The severity of the disease still depends on the health status and individual factors of those affected, according to the researchers.
Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico also discovered that D614G is in a location that is recognized by antibodies in the immune system. The mutation could affect the body’s immune response and thus the protective effect of vaccines. The consequence could be a longer duration of the infection.