New mutation of coronavirus “spreads faster” around the world

By Fabian Sutch-Daggett - World Healthcare Journal

A new mutation of coronavirus is now the most dominant strand of Covid-19 in the world and is forming clusters in the UK faster than previous strains, an expert has warned.

Professor Nick Loman, of the University of Birmingham, said the mutation known as D614G is developing quicker than the original virus from Wuhan, and has an observable impact on coronavirus cases.

Whilst the new strain has so far not shown any indication of causing more severe symptoms or an increased likelihood of death, it is resulting in case clusters to form more rapidly and the virus to spread with greater ease.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4, Professor Loman stated that more than 40,000 genomes had been analysed, and an increase in transmission among adults had been found with the new strain.

"This mutation was predicted first by computer modelling to have some impact on the structure of that protein and the ability of the virus to bind and enter cells and then quite recently was shown in laboratory experiments to increase the infectivity of cells,” says Prof Loman.

”It does seem to have an impact, particularly on transmissibility. ”

“We found that by testing what happened in the UK, the viruses that contain the G-type of mutation seemed to form clusters of cases faster which ended up being bigger than the viruses with the D mutation. ”

However, Professor Loman believes that this mutation will not impact the race to find a vaccine for coronavirus.

"This increase in this mutation is a worldwide phenomenon,” says Prof Loman.

“Any vaccine trial will include patients that will encounter this mutation because this is actually the most dominant mutation, it’s about 75 per cent of cases. I don’t think this will have an impact on the vaccine. ”

Professor Loman added that if and when a vaccine for coronavirus is available, it would have to be altered year-on-year to protect against new strains, akin to the seasonal flu vaccine.

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