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This coronavirus mutation may be more infectious but less deadly, expert says

A new mutation of the coronavirus may have led to a drop in death rates

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A video of the spread and mutation of the Ebola out break in West Africa in 2014 plays on a laptop at U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command at Fort Detrick, Md., Thursday, March 19, 2020, where scientists are working to help develop solutions to prevent, detect and treat the coronavirus.

A video of the spread and mutation of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014 plays on a laptop at U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command at Fort Detrick, Md., on Thursday, March 19, 2020, where scientists are working to help develop solutions to prevent, detect and treat the coronavirus.

Andrew Harnik, Associated Press

A common mutation of the novel coronavirus found in Europe, North America and Southeast Asia may be more infectious but less deadly, an expert told Reuters.

The spread of the new mutation — called D614G — seems to have coincided with a drop in death rates, according to Paul Tambyah, senior consultant at the National University of Singapore and president-elect of the International Society of Infectious Diseases.

Tambyah suggests this mutation could be less fatal.

  • “Maybe that’s a good thing to have a virus that is more infectious but less deadly.”
  • Viruses tend to become less deadly as they mutate, Tambyah toldReuters.
  • “It is in the virus’ interest to infect more people but not to kill them because a virus depends on the host for food and for shelter.”

The United States and Europe have dealt with this mutation of the coronavirus for months now, having discovered it back in February. The World Health Organization said there is likely no evidence that the mutation leads to more severe COVID-19 cases, according to Bloomberg.

  • This new mutation “is said to have a higher possibility of transmission or infectiousness, but we still don’t have enough solid evidence to say that that will happen,” Philippines’ Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Monday, according to Bloomberg.