A recent study sparked some worry last week when it revealed a mutation “of urgent concern” in the virus responsible for COVID-19. But experts say more research is needed to determine what that really means.
The preliminary, non peer-reviewed study from the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico indicated that a COVID-19 strand containing a specific mutation — on the spike protein D614G — is emerging as the dominant form of the virus.
The U.S. team’s study, which analyzed data from coronavirus patients in England, also suggested the mutation could be making the virus more infectious.
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The problem, experts say, is that the research doesn’t reveal any proof of that.
“There’s really no evidence from the scientific study that this particular mutation is causing the virus to be more transmissible than other genetic variants of the virus,” said Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious diseases specialist based at Toronto General Hospital and a faculty member at the University of Toronto.
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“Could a mutation (with that effect) happen? Sure. Will it happen? Who knows.”
8:45Epidemiologist breaks down challenges of developing COVID-19 vaccine
Epidemiologist breaks down challenges of developing COVID-19 vaccine
Mutations are commonplace in nature,