COVID-19 Virus: 12K Mutations Found
COVID-19 Virus: 12K Mutations Found , but without additional risk of transmission. According to CNN, the journal Nature Communications recently published a study on 12,000 mutations of the COVID-19 virus, showing that the current mutations will not significantly affect the risk of infection.
A group of viral geneticists from University College London Francois Balloux, Lucy van Dorp and other viral geneticists collected 46,000 virus samples from 99 countries. Experiments and data have proved that these mutations are neutral, and none of them are more average than the current virus. The communication power has increased significantly.
The D614G mutation of the new coronavirus has been the focus of recent attention. Previous studies have stated that this mutation increases the binding capacity of the virus by 10 times, which may cause a sudden increase in the risk of infection. In fact, this new mutant strain does not seem to have a real impact.
Balloux said that the D614G mutation is only one that successfully survived and spread among all the mutants, not the main driver of transmission. Mutations have nothing to do with the increase in the spread of the virus. This virus only appears in the early stages of the epidemic and is found with high frequency worldwide.
Generally speaking, mutations that are highly harmful to the virus, such as those that reduce the ability to invade host cells, will be quickly eliminated, and slightly harmful mutations can be temporarily retained. Neutral, especially the mutation that is beneficial to the spread of the virus, has the highest frequency. According to the current results, most of the virus mutations seem to be neutral, causing no harm to the virus itself, nor enhancing infectivity.
RNA viruses mutate faster than other viruses, and a single base error may mutate. The new coronavirus is an RNA virus, but it is more stable because it has a built-in “proofreader.” In addition, there is a mutation that comes from an infected person, and the human body may cause part of the virus to mutate through an immune response. As a result, Balloux expressed concern about vaccine research. Once people receive an effective vaccine, the pressure of natural selection will prompt the virus to mutate.
Balloux predicts that the new coronavirus will differentiate into different phenotypic lineages, and it will continue to mutate into an endemic human pathogen. However, there is no evidence that this mutation process will lead to the emergence of a pedigree with enhanced transmission capacity in human hosts.