A global study found convincing evidence that from Europe to the US has spread a new form of coronavirus. Thursday, July 2, an international team of researchers reported that a new mutation increases the likelihood of infecting people with the virus, but, it seems, does not make their condition more severe than in earlier versions of the virus, writes CNN.
“Now it is the dominant form that infects people,” said Erica Ollmann Sapphire from the Institute of immunology in La Jolla and the Consortium for immunotherapy of coronavirus, who worked on the study.
A study published in the journal Cell, based on earlier work done by the team, which was published in the beginning of the year. General information on genetic sequences, pointed out that a mutant version of the virus takes effect.
Now the team not only checked the more genetic sequences, but also conducted experiments involving people, animals, and cells in the laboratory cups, which show that the mutant version is more common and is more contagious than the other versions.
“We know that the new virus is more fit. At first glance, it doesn’t look worse,” says Sapphire.
The mutation affects the residual protein structure, which the virus uses to penetrate cells that it infects. Now researchers are checking to see whether it affects the ability to control the virus with a vaccine. The test currently vaccines mainly target protein “spikes” of the virus, but they were investigated using older strains of the virus.
Researchers call the new mutation G614, and show that it almost completely replaced the first version circulated in Europe and the USA, under the name of D614.
Does not affect patient survival
“Our global tracking data show that the G614 option spreads faster than D614 — wrote in his report, biologist Bette Korber from Los Alamos national laboratory. — We interpret this as that the virus is likely to be more infectious. Interestingly, we found no evidence of influence G614 on the severity of the disease”.
This may be good news, said Lawrence young, Professor of medical Oncology at the British University of Warwick, who was not involved in the study.
“The current work suggests that, although the G614 option may be more infectious, it is not more pathogenic. It is hoped that with the spread of infection SARS-CoV-2 virus may become less pathogenic,” — said in a statement.
The team tested samples taken from patients throughout Europe and the United States, and sequenced genomes. They compared these sequences to the genome that was published publicly. Comparison of these sequences helped them to map the spread of two forms.
“Until March 1, 2020 option G614 were rare outside Europe, but at the end of March its incidence has increased worldwide,” write the experts.
They found that even when the form D614 caused a massive epidemic everywhere, in places such as Wales and Nottingham in England, and also in Washington state, G614 immediately became dominant as soon as.
“The increase in the frequency G614 continues in spite of orders to stay at home, and on a 14-day regime of self-isolation,” added the scientists.
There are a few exceptions, including Santa Clara, California, and Iceland, where the older form D614 never replaced a newer version of G.
Three to nine times more contagious than
Researchers believe that the new version is apparently faster multiplies in the upper respiratory tract — nose, sinuses and throat — which explains why it spreads easier.
Tests 1000 patients with the coronavirus in Britain showed that infected a new version quickly picked up the strain.
David Montefiore of Duke University and his colleagues tested the virus in the laboratory.
“We could check whether the form G virus is more contagious than form D,” said Montefiore, Director of the laboratory of research and development of vaccines against AIDS.
“All results confirmed that form G was three to nine times more contagious than form D, he added. — Now we have experimental data which partially confirm what I saw Bette Korber in his analysis of sequences around the world — form G has the advantage in terms of infectivity”.
Lab tests of the virus in action confirmed what showed genetic maps.
“These results indicate that a newer form of the virus can be transmitted even easier than the original form. Regardless of whether this conclusion eventually confirmed, it underlines the value of what were already good ideas: wear a mask and to maintain social distancing,” said the Corbera.
Other mutations often accompany mutation G614, but it is not clear what effect they have. Mutation G614 may be neutralized with serum — product of blood taken from people who recovered from coronavirus infection, said Sapphire. Her team checked the blood delivered to the six recovered from coronavirus infection in San Diego.
“We looked at whether there was a spectrum of antibodies in the blood of people in the same effective in neutralizing the new virus, as the old one. He managed, and even a little better, she said. — It was a relief”.
Researchers worried that the new mutation will make the virus spread faster and reach higher levels of infestation of the body will require more effort of the immune system to neutralize it.
“These six residents of San Diego it was not so,” said Sapphire.
To consolidate the data and understand what these changes mean for the epidemic and for patients who need additional work to be done, the researchers note.
“There are potential implications for vaccines. We are actively exploring these possible consequences,” said Montefiore.
And, of course, scientists monitor other mutations.
“We could Dodge the bullet with this particular mutation,’ said Sapphire. — However, this does not mean that another mutation may not appear on top of this, she added. We must remain vigilant.”