A New Strain of dominant coronavirus :
Scientists have said that a new dominant strain of the coronavirus appears to be more contagious than the original.
The new strain of the coronavirus that has become dominant worldwide and appears to be more contagious than the versions that spread in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. This emerges from a new study conducted by scientists from the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
The new strain appeared in Europe in February, quickly migrated to the east coast of the United States, and has been the world’s dominant strain since mid-March, the scientists wrote.
The report not only warns that it spreads faster, but also makes people susceptible to a second infection after a first attack with the disease.
The 33-page report was released on Thursday on BioRxiv, a website where researchers share their work before being peer-reviewed. This is expected to accelerate collaboration with scientists working on COVID-19 vaccines or treatments. This research is largely based on the genetic sequence of previous strains and may not be effective against the new dominant coronavirus.
The mutation identified in the new report affects the now infamous tips on the outside of the coronavirus, which allow it to enter human respiratory cells. The report’s authors stated that they “urgently need an early warning” for vaccines and drugs that are being developed worldwide to be effective against the mutant strain.
Wherever the new strain appeared, it quickly infected far more people than the earlier tribes from Wuhan, China, and within a few weeks, it was reported to be the only strain that was common in some countries. The dominance of the new tribe over its predecessors shows that, according to the report, it is more contagious, although it is not yet known exactly why.
The corona virus, known to scientists as SARS-CoV-2, has infected more than 3.5 million people worldwide and has caused more than 250,000 COVID-19 deaths since its discovery late last year.
The report is based on a computer analysis of more than 6,000 coronavirus sequences from around the world, which was collected by the Global Initiative for Sharing All Influenza Data, a public-private organization in Germany. The analysis repeatedly found that the new version dominated.
The Los Alamos team, supported by scientists from Duke University and the University of Sheffield in England, identified 14 mutations. These mutations occurred among the nearly 30,000 base pairs of RNA that other scientists say make up the genome of the coronavirus. The authors of the report focused on a mutation called D614G, which is responsible for the change in the virus tips.
A mutant, more contagious strain of the coronavirus is now the virus’ dominant form, scientists say.
It appeared in Europe, spread to the East Coast.
Researchers hope this can be an “early warning” so vaccines will be effective against the new strain.https://t.co/vTVOZlqihY
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) May 5, 2020
“The story is worrying as we see a mutant form of the virus appear very quickly and become the dominant pandemic in March,” study lead Bette Korber, a computer biologist at Los Alamos, wrote on her Facebook page. “When viruses with this mutation enter a population, they quickly start to take over the local epidemic and are therefore more communicable.”
While the Los Alamos report is highly technical and dispassionate, Korber expressed some deep personal feelings about the impact of the finding in her Facebook post.
The report provides regional breakdowns of when the new strain first appeared and how long it took for it to become dominant.
Italy was one of the first countries in which the new virus appeared in the last week of February, almost simultaneously with the appearance of the original strain. Washington was one of the first states to be affected by the original tribe in late February, but the mutated tribe dominated on March 15. New York was infected by the original virus around March 15, but within a few days the mutant strain took over.
Scientists from large organizations working on a vaccine or drug have told The Times that they are hoping for initial evidence that the virus is stable and probably not as mutated as the influenza virus, and that will require a new vaccine every year. The Los Alamos report could turn this assumption upside down.
The new strain began spreading in Europe in early February before migrating to other parts of the world, including the United States and Canada, becoming the dominant form of the virus across the globe by the end of March https://t.co/zGBRXRvduy
— Global Witness ♏⚠ (@FakeWelt) May 5, 2020
If the pandemic does not subside seasonally as the weather warms, the study warns the virus could experience further mutations, even if research organizations prepare the first medical treatments and vaccines. Without the risk now under control, the effectiveness of vaccines may be limited. Some of the compounds under development are said to be at the top or interrupt their activity. If they were developed based on the original version of the spike, they may not be effective against the new coronavirus strain, the study authors warned.
“We can’t afford to be blind when we turn vaccines and antibodies into clinical trials,” Korber wrote on Facebook. “Please be encouraged to know that the global science community is working on this and we are working together in a way that I have never seen in my 30 years as a scientist.”
Although the researchers don’t yet know exactly how the mutated spike behaves in the body, it is clearly doing something that gives it an evolutionary advantage over its predecessor and promotes its rapid spread. One scientist called it a “classic case of Darwinian evolution”.
“The incidence is growing alarmingly, indicating a fitness advantage over the original Wuhan strain that allows it to spread faster,” the study said.
It is still unknown whether this mutated virus could explain regional differences in the strength of COVID-19 in different parts of the world.
In the United States, doctors had begun independently questioning whether new new dominant coronavirus strains of the virus could be responsible for the differences in human infection, disease, and death, said Alan Wu, a professor at the University of San Francisco who runs the clinical chemistry and laboratory Head of Toxicology at the San Francisco General Hospital.
Medical experts have speculated in the past few weeks that they have seen at least two strains of viruses in the United States, one on the east coast and one on the west coast, according to Wu.
“We want to identify the mutation,” he said, noting that his hospital had few deaths from the hundreds of cases treated, which is “a very different story than we hear from New York.”
The Los Alamos study does not show that the new version of the virus is more deadly than the original. People who are infected with the mutant strain appear to have a higher viral load. However, the authors of the University of Sheffield study found that for a local sample of 447 patients, hospitalization rates for people infected with both versions of the virus were approximately the same.
Even if the new virus is no more dangerous than the others, this could hamper efforts to control the pandemic. This would be a problem if the mutation differentiated the virus from previous strains so that people who were immune to it would not be immune to the new version.
If it does, it could “make people susceptible to a second infection,” the study authors wrote.
It is possible that the mutation may alter the tips in some way that helps the virus escape the immune system, said Montefiori, who has been working on an HIV vaccine for 30 years. “It is hypothetical. We take a very close look at that. ”
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REF : latimes