Study suggests coronavirus spread swiftly around world in late 2019

Study suggests coronavirus spread swiftly around world in late 2019

Study suggests coronavirus spread swiftly around world in late 2019

New research tracking the mutation of the COVID-19 virus shows some mutations could be stronger and more unsafe than others, a finding that could have major implications for the development of a vaccine.

Many of the Covid-19 vaccines now in development target the distinctive spikes of the virus - the idea is that getting your body to recognise a unique element of the spike will help it to fight off the whole virus.

The peer-review process helps to ensure the research has a high standard of quality and validity, but many scientists are opting to publish their work in this way to speed up discussion and collaborations with scientists working on Covid-19 vaccines or treatments.

He pointed out in another interview that all viruses mutate and there is nothing to suggest SARS-CoV-2's mutations are worrying or that it has become more deadly. That genetic code is the baseline to compare with all later samples of the virus.

The faster a virus mutates, the harder this becomes because it constantly changes.

Vaccines train the immune system to identify and respond appropriately to a virus entering the body. Past research on similar genes and the fact it's only been found in a single individual, suggest that this deletion probably isn't great news for the virus.

The Los Alamos team created an analysis pipeline to track the mutations seen in the coronavirus, particularly those mutations relating to the infamous spike protein on the surface of the virus.

Researchers found 14 mutations of the coronavirus cell spike, but focused on a common mutation which seemed to be spreading globally. The researchers said one, called D614G, was "of urgent concern" because it appeared to be emerging as dominant and may make the disease more infectious.

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But not everyone agrees that the mutation has significantly changed the ability of the virus to spread.

"That could be because it is more transmissible, but it could also be because the relatively late interventions allowed it to spread more".

They identified 198 mutations that appear to have independently occurred a few times.

Since the outbreak began, scientists knew the virus would mutate - as do all viruses, including the flu. Only a small percentage of all mutations are beneficial for the virus itself.

Experts in the field, who are not involved with the study, have shown interest in the findings, but have been quick to highlight the study's drawbacks and say that further research is required before we can reach any solid conclusions.

Although rare, beneficial mutations do happen in all sorts of organisms - antibiotic resistance in bacteria is one such example.

The good thing is that researchers are on the case, and we'll no doubt have more information soon.

Scientists are on the case.

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