Florida scientists suggest mutation could make coronavirus more infectious
A team of scientists in Florida have discovered that the novel coronavirus has mutated in a way that makes it more infectious.
The scientists say more research is needed to show whether the change has altered the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, but at least one researcher who is not part of the study says it likely has, and the changes may explain why the virus has infected millions in the US and Latin America.
It’s a mutation that researchers have been concerned about for weeks.
The researchers at the Scripps Research Institute in Florida said the mutation, known as D614G, affects the spike protein — a structure on the outside of the coronavirus that it uses to get into cells. If the findings are established, it would be the first time someone has demonstrated that changes seen in the virus have significance for the pandemic.
According to virologists, who were shown the study, said that the research by Scripps scientists was a strong demonstration that this specific mutation does indeed cause a significant change in how the virus behaves biologically.
However, other scientists warned that it would take a lot more research to determine if differences in the virus were a factor in shaping the course of the pandemic.
Just this week, the World Health Organization (WHO) said the mutations seen so far in the novel coronavirus would not affect the vaccines under development. Last week, the UN health agency said mutations had not made it more easily transmissible, nor had they made the virus more likely to cause serious illness.
In a positive development, the first experimental COVID-19 vaccine in the US will begin a huge trial in July to prove if it really can fend off the coronavirus.
Moderna Moderna said on Thursday it plans to begin final-stage trials enrolling 30,000 people in July.
In a press release, the company said that it remains on track to be able to deliver approximately 500 million doses per year, and possibly up to 1 billion doses per year, beginning in 2021 from the company’s internal US manufacturing site and strategic collaboration with Lonza.”
There are nearly 160 vaccines that are under development with an aim to beat the Sars-Cov-2 coronavirus, which causes the COVID-19 disease. The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has witnessed about 7.6 million people infected and has caused over 400,000 deaths.
Meanwhile, Adar Poonawalla, CEO and Owner, Serum Institute of India (SII) today announced that his firm has signed a deal with Astra Zeneca to supply one billion doses of vaccine for low and middle-income nations before the end of the year to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.
India’s coronavirus tally today saw its highest-ever jump of 11,458 cases, as per the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
A total of 386 deaths have been reported due to the infection in the past 24 hours.
The total number of Covid-19 cases in the country now stands at 3,08,993 and 8,884 deaths.