Coronavirus May Have Mutated To Become More Contagious, Study Finds

Laverne Higgins
September 27, 2020

The study has yet to be peer-reviewed. The contagion was recovered during the initial wave of infections in the city and again during the "ongoing massive second wave of infections", the study authors wrote. According to the study, the structure of the spike protein of the virus is changed by the mutation and this strain spreads more. So far they have found 5,085 sequences.

According to researchers from Houston Methodist Hospital, a more contagious strain of the novel coronavirus now dominates recent samples collected for the study in Houston, Associated Press reported.

The mutation did not appear to make the virus more unsafe or change patients' outcomes, according to the study.

The spikes are what enable the virus to bind to and eventually infect cells.

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They added the patients who had this variation of the virus had much higher viral loads in their noses when they tested positive for COVID-19.

Perhaps more important is that no one, including the researchers studying D614G, thinks this mutation has actually made the virus deadlier or more likely to sicken us, something that seems to get lost in the headlines discussing this research.

The findings reinforce researchers" concerns of the virus gaining momentum through naturally occurring mutations capable of producing mutant viruses that can escape vaccines - dubbed "escapians' - or mutants that can resist drugs and other therapies.

Virologist David Morens of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases says that it is possible that the virus has now learned to avoid some of our security mechanisms after mutations. If this happens, there will be flu-like conditions. Mutations take place when a virus replicates and, after infecting more than 30 million people, coronavirus has had plenty of opportunities to mutate.

"Although we don't know yet, it is well within the realm of possibility that this coronavirus, when our population-level immunity gets high enough, this coronavirus will find a way to get around our immunity", he said.

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