Mutation may have made the coronavirus more infectious and less deadly: scientists

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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.

RUNDOWN SHOWS:
1. Coronavirus mutation occurred by the time of the California outbreak in March
2. The now-dominant G viruses are more prolific than A viruses
3. G viruses are not stronger than A viruses
4. Milder symptoms of G viruses may help the virus to spread more

VOICEOVER (in English):
"According to new research, the coronavirus had bifurcated into G and A viruses when COVID-19 spread to California in March."

"The study published in Cell states 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."


SOURCES: Cell, La Jolla Institute for Immunology
https://www.cell.com/cell/pdf/S0092-8674(20)30820-5.pdf?_returnURL=https%3A%2F%2Flinkinghub.elsevier.com%2Fretrieve%2Fpii%2FS0092867420308205%3Fshowall%3Dtrue
https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-07-mutation-coronavirus-dominate-globe.html