“Now the dominant form of infecting people,” Erica Ollmann sapphire Institute in La JOLLA immunology and immunotherapy coronavirus consortium that worked on the study, told CNN.
Now the team not only checked over genetic sequences, but also to conduct experiments involving humans, animals and cells in laboratory dishes, which show the mutated version is more common and more infectious than other versions.
“We know that the new virus is a mechanic. It doesn’t look at first glance as if it’s worse,” said Safir.
The mutation affects the spike protein-the structure the virus uses to get into cells it can. Now, researchers tested whether this affects whether the virus can be controlled with vaccines. Modern vaccines are being tested mainly target the spike protein, but they were made using old strains of the virus.
A study published in the journal Cell, confirms earlier work, suggesting that the mutation made a new variant of the virus is more common. Researchers call the new G614 mutation, and they show that he almost completely replaced the first version for distribution in Europe and the United States, called D614.
Does not affect patient survival
“Our global tracking data show that the G614 option to a spike spread faster than D614,” theoretical biologist Beth Kerber from Los Alamos National laboratory and his colleagues wrote in their report. “We interpret it so that the virus is likely to be more infectious”, they added. “Interestingly, we found no evidence of G614 effect on the severity of the disease.”
This may be good news, said Lawrence young, Professor of medical Oncology at the UK’s University of Warwick who was not involved in the study.
“The current work suggests that, although the G614 option may be more infectious, not more than pathogenic. It is hoped that as the SARS-cov-2 infection, the virus may become less pathogenic” he said in a statement.
The team tested samples taken from patients in Europe and the USA, and sequenced genomes. They compared those genomes with what was shared. Comparison of these sequences helped them to draw a map of the distribution of the two forms.
“Until March 1, 2020, G614 variant was rare outside Europe, but at the end of March, it increased in frequency around the world,” they wrote.
Even when the form D614 led to widespread epidemics in such places as Wales and Nottingham in England, and also in Washington state, G614 took as soon as he appeared, they found.
“The increase in the frequency G614 often continues after the stay-at-home orders in place and the subsequent two-week incubation period,” they added. There are a few exceptions, including Santa Clara, California, USA and Iceland, where older D614 form was never replaced by a new g version.
From three to nine times more contagious
The new version seems to be faster to multiply in the upper respiratory tract, nose, sinuses and throat-which explains why he passes more easily, researchers say.
But tests on 1000 patients hospitalized with coronavirus in the UK showed those who had been infected with a new version did not live worse than those who caught the original strain.
David Montefiore of Duke University and his colleagues tested the virus in the laboratory. “We were able to test whether the g form of the virus was more infectious than the D form,” Montefiore, Director of the laboratory for research and development of vaccines against AIDS, told CNN.
“All results agreed that g was three to nine times more contagious than the D-form,” he added. “Now we have experimental evidence that supported, in particular, what Bette saw in her analysis of the sequences around the world — g form fitness advantage in terms of transmissibility”.
Lab tests of the virus in action, confirmed that the genetic map showed.
“These results suggest that a new form of the virus can be transmitted even more easily than the original form. If this conclusion is ultimately confirmed, it underlines the importance of what were already good ideas: wear a mask and to maintain social distancing,” said Kerber in a statement.
Other mutations often go together with a mutation of the G614, but it is not clear what effect they have. “The earliest sequences, we found that carried all four mutations were selected in Italy in February. 20,” they wrote. “Within a few days, this haplotype has been sampled in many European countries.”
Mutation G614 can be neutralized by convalescent serum-blood products taken from people who have recovered from infection of the coronavirus, said Safir. Her team tested blood donated by six survivors of the coronavirus in San Diego.
“We looked to see whether a range of antibodies in the blood of the people was equally effective in neutralizing the new virus, old virus was. It was actually a little better,” she said.
“That was a relief”.
The researchers were concerned that if a new mutation of the virus to grow faster and to higher levels, requires more effort of the immune system to neutralize it. “These six guys from San Diego, this is not the case,” said Safir.
More work is needed, of course, to consolidate the results and see what these changes mean for the epidemic and patients, the researchers said.
“There are potential implications for vaccines. We are actively investigating these possible consequences,” said Montefiore.
And, of course, they’re watching other mutations. “We could have carried this specific mutation, said Safir. “However, this does not mean that the other mutation was not able to come on top of this,” she added.
“It behooves us to remain vigilant”.
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