Covid-19 mutated strain more infectious, susceptible to a vaccine: Study

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on November 13, 2020

A new study carried by researchers at the University of North Carolina and the University of Wisconsin-Madison dawns hope for coronavirus vaccine efficacy as it claimed that though the virus has mutated to become more infectious, it has also become more susceptible to a vaccine.

Their study showed that the D614G strain replicates faster and is more transmissible than the virus, originating in China, that spread at the beginning of the pandemic.

The findings suggested while the D614G strain spreads faster, in animal studies, it was not associated with more severe disease, and the strain is slightly more sensitive to neutralization by antibody drugs.

Ralph Baric, professor of epidemiology at the UNC-Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health said: "The D614G virus outcompetes and outgrows the ancestral strain by about 10-fold and replicates extremely efficiently in primary nasal epithelial cells, which are a potentially important site for person-to-person transmission."

Researchers speculate that the D614G strain of coronavirus dominates because it increases the spike protein's ability to open cells for the virus to enter.

The D614G mutation has one spike protein popped open that allows the virus to proliferate faster and also become vulnerable as its core gets exposed, making it easier for antibodies to attack and destroy it.

"To maximally protect public health, we must continue to track and understand the consequences of these new mutations on disease severity, transmission, host range, and vulnerability to vaccine-induced immunity," researchers said in the study.

The findings of the study were published in the journal EurekAlert!

Published on November 13, 2020

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