Even though Coronavirus’ scare is dying among people we must not give up on precautions, especially when mutations are being talked about and there is a fair chance of their spread!

We are taking you through D614G, what is it, and why is it so dangerous?

D614G mutation is 10 times more infectious 

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Whilst COVID-19 continues to spread globally, Malaysian authorities made a revelation with regards to a 10 times more infectious strain of coronavirus traced back to South Asian countries, known as the ‘D614G’ coronavirus strain.

D614G mutation could signify further spread of infection

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Although, nothing can be stated as ‘Full Proof’ as of now, this mutation signifies as to how consequential this novel coronavirus strain could be. A person who broke his quarantine carried the same strain and infected as many as 45 people. 

How dangerous is the mutation right now?

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The strain is found to be in circulation in New York and pockets of Italy, which were, at one point one of the worst affected cities globally and now, the infamous strain is gaining popularity for all the dangers it could expose humans to. Although, there are also contrasting researches which suggest that D614G could be nothing but a similar viral mutation which could only affect a small group of people. But,  how much of a real threat does it actually pose for humanity is the real question here. 

Why the name ‘D614G’?

The novel coronavirus undergoes many mutations through its life-cycle. However, till date, the one single strain which was termed dangerous has been D614G. The virus mutation was first observed in February in some places across Europe. 

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Technically, D614G is a mutation of the COVID-19 causing SARS-COV-2 virus, present between the virus’s spike protein, which is used to enter into the host cells. The naming of the mutation is primarily due to its chemical make-up. According to experts, the viral mutation changes the positioning of the amino acid at ‘614’ from D (which stands for aspartic acid) to G (glycine). Hence, the mutation is earmarked as D614G.

Is it more transmissible and infectious?

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According to a study published in the scientific journal, Cell, it was observed that of 999 samples tested across the UK, patients who were detected with the D614G strain had a higher viral load than others. In the same study, it was brought to light that a higher viral capacity may showcase greater infectivity patterns. However, it should be noted that  it could be difficult to correlate actual viral spread in humans as of now as there is no evidence as yet which suggests the same.

Is the mutation harder to detect or diagnose?

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It is worth noting that whilst  the viral strain has been associated to infect far more people in one cluster than observed earlier,  scientists have observed that a higher viral load did not correlate with higher disease severity. So, it isn’t associated with strong fatality rates.

Would treatment pose a problem?

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The problem lies here. In case of difficulty in treatment, the fatality rates will shoot up. However, in the absence of correlation, this makes it difficult to come to any point now. 

What does it mean for vaccine development?

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If and when mutation comes to light, it raises queries about how challenging could it prove to be in terms of vaccine development, for, the vaccines are usually made out of a more early isolated strains of a virus. However, the  timeline like the one we are facing right now, it makes it more difficult to understand whether or not we would now be needing different vaccines for different strains of the virus. 

Mutations won’t largely affect how a vaccine works

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While the mutation brings about changes to the spike protein structure, no such changes have been observed with the ACE2 receptors and hence, any mutation is unlikely to bring around changes to immunogenicity. 

The bottomline

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 The virus mutation in question, D614G might be far more infectious but whether or not it could mean a definite spike in the viral load in humans is still inconclusive.

(Some text has been translated from trusted online sources)

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