Egon Ozer, an infectious disease expert at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, recently told the Washington Post that he noticed mutations in the coronavirus samples he studied in Chicago. Although these genes were initially genetically identical to those from China to the United States, by May, he found that 95% of the genes in the genome he sequenced produced “G” (glycine) in the 614 amino acids of the virus Abbreviation), not the number “D” (short for aspartic acid) of one of the amino acids, number 614.
Because this change occurs in the part of the genome responsible for the “spike protein”, which gives the coronavirus a coronal appearance, the mutation is significant. In fact, spike protein is responsible for the ability of viruses to invade human cells. David Veesler, an associate professor of biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine, once said: “In terms of virus entry, the surge is a business part,”
As the Post pointed out: “Researchers around the world have uploaded about 50,000 new viral genomes to a shared database, and about 70% of them carry this mutation, officially named D614G, but scientists more familiarly call it’G ‘.’
Orson does not observe this alone. Scripps Research (Scripps Research) reached the same conclusion in a study earlier this month, virologist Dr. Hyeryun Choe wrote: “The virus with this mutation is more common than the cell culture system we use. Viruses without this mutation are more infectious.” The study is still being peer-reviewed, so its author emphasizes that the conclusion should be considered preliminary. However, they pointed out that the impact of mutations on virus spikes “allows newly manufactured virus particles to completely navigate the process from the production cell to the target cell, and is less likely to divide prematurely.”
Sharon asked the experts what they thought about the mutation.
Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, told Sharon via email: “As the virus develops, this is of course a normal process.” “It may affect the infectivity of organisms. There is no evidence yet It has affected the severity. It may increase its ability to enter cells. (So it is more infectious, but not necessarily more lethal.) More infections may mean more people are at risk, so from theory In the above, you may see more diseases in people. If you have more high-risk groups, the disease will be more serious.”
He added: “So far, there is no evidence that it affects the ability of spike protein to generate an immune response. Having said that, only time can prove everything. ”
Benjamin observed that there is no evidence that the mutation will affect efforts to develop vaccines, but he added: “We must always pay attention to huge genetic changes, which may mean that we need a new or more effective vaccine. Due to the influenza virus The change is relatively small, so one year. The change in the SARS-2 virus may mean that we must be vaccinated every year. Of course, this assumes that we have a safe and effective vaccine from the beginning.”
Another expert responded to Benjamin’s views about the potential impact of the mutation.
Dr. Russell Medford, Chairman of the Global Health Innovation and Global Health Crisis Coordination Center, said: “What we know today is that the SARS-CoV2 strain with the D614G mutation is appearing in patients with COVID-19 at an increasing frequency. Tell Sharon via email. “We also know that under highly controlled experimental conditions in laboratories using harmless engineered viruses, the D614G mutation imparts important viral protein S with functional properties that both stabilize the protein and enhance the engineered virus to infect humans. The capacity of the cells indicates that greater infectivity may lead to an increase in the frequency of D614G SARS-CoV2 in COVID-19 patients, but, most importantly, more research is needed because we do not know this Does the mutation affect the severity of symptoms or increased mortality in infected persons
He added: “However, the most important thing is that more research is needed because we don’t know whether this mutation will affect the severity of symptoms or increase the mortality rate of infected people.”
Last month, scientists at the Los Alamos National Laboratory conducted a study warning that the mutant coronavirus strain may be so contagious that it would worsen the spreading pandemic.
“The Spike D614G mutation has aroused urgent attention; it began to spread in Europe in early February, and when new regions were introduced, it quickly became the main form. In addition, we also provided evidence of recombination between local circulating strains, indicating that there are many Strain infection, researchers at Los Alamos University wrote. “These findings [sic] It is of great significance to the spread, pathogenesis and immune intervention of SARS-CoV-2. “
They added: “The frequency of D614G is increasing at an alarming rate, which shows that it has the advantage of spreading faster than the original Wuhan strain.”