New coronavirus mutation spreads more quickly than previous one, but it won’t stop vaccine progress, expert said
The new mutation will not impact the progress of a vaccine
Professor Nick Loman, of the University of Birmingham, said in a recent interview that the novel coronavirus has undergone a mutation that causes outbreaks to spread more quickly across the world, per The Telegraph.
- But the new mutation, he said, won’t impact progress on a COVID-19 vaccine.
- Loman told BBC Radio 4’s “Today” program that the new coronavirus mutation — called D614G — creates clusters in the UK faster than the virus did in Wuhan, China, in the early days of the virus, according to The Telegraph.
It exists in the spike protein, which is a very important way that the coronavirus can enter human cells, and we have been noticing in the UK and worldwide that this mutation has been increasing in frequency. This mutation was predicted first by computer modeling 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.
- The mutation doesn’t appear to increase hospital stays or lead to a greater death risk.
- “We didn’t see any significant association with survival and the length of hospital stays with this mutation — we don’t think this mutation is important in changing virulence. The effect seems to be on transmissibility.”
- Per the New York Post, researchers predicted the mutation through modeling.
- Back in May, a new study found that the coronavirus has mutated, becoming more contagious, which I wrote about for Deseret.com.
- This strain — one of 14 identified in the study — first appeared in Europe in February. It reportedly delivered a higher viral load to COVID-19 patients than the earlier strains from Wuhan, China. However, it did not seem to cause more hospitalizations.
Change in deadliness?
Currently, we do not have sufficient evidence to come to any conclusions about the virus becoming more malicious or benign. We simply know that certain variants have become more prominent, such as the D614G strain. However, currently, our evidence about D614G shows that it is not causing different clinical outcomes in humans.