Mutation could make coronavirus more infectious and less deadly

  • Wednesday 08, July 2020 10:19 AM
Sharjah 24 - Reuters: The coronavirus had bifurcated into G and A viruses when COVID-19 spread to California in March, according to new research published in Cell.
The paper's authors state that the G viruses, which are now the dominant type globally, are differentiated from A viruses by variations in the spike protein.

Spike proteins are the sugar-protein structures on the coronavirus's shell that help the pathogen break into host cells.

The G type coronaviruses replicate more efficiently than D viruses by a factor of two or three times. This means patients infected by the G strain have more viruses in their body.

However, testing samples from six San Diego residents, the scientists found that human antibodies eliminated the G strain as well as, if not better than, the D strain.

In a news release, lead author Erica Saphire of La Jolla Institute says being weaker and less deadly is perhaps the G variant's competitive advantage, as people who are asymptotic or mildly symptomatic are more likely to infect others.