Mutations Didn't Make Coronavirus More Dangerous

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Mutations Didn't Make Coronavirus More Dangerous
Mutations Didn't Make Coronavirus More Dangerous

Video: Mutations Didn't Make Coronavirus More Dangerous

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Mutations didn't make coronavirus more dangerous

The authors of the new study noted that mutations that make the coronavirus "more evil" may not appear in the future.

Mutations didn't make coronavirus more dangerous
Mutations didn't make coronavirus more dangerous

Photo: pixabay.com

None of the known mutations of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus seem to have increased its infectivity, that is, the ability to spread from person to person. Research on this topic was posted on the preprint resource, bioRxiv. It has not yet been reviewed for journal publication.

Scientists analyzed data on the genomes of more than 15 thousand SARS-CoV-2 viruses from 75 countries. The information was based on research that another research group published in the journal Infection, Genetics and Evolution on the genetic diversity of the virus.

“As mutations are documented, scientists are trying to understand if any of them could make the virus more lethal, because it is vital that such changes are detected as early as possible,” said Professor Francois Balloux of the University College London, lead author of the study.

The authors reported that coronaviruses have several ways of developing mutations: as a result of simple mistakes, due to interaction with other viruses and with the host's immunity. Mutations can be either neutral or beneficial to viruses. Mutations of both of these species can become common if they are passed on to future generations of viruses.

Scientists have discovered 6,882 mutations in a huge sample of SARS-CoV-2 viruses. For 273 mutations, they found evidence that they independently recur. Among them were 31 mutations, which occurred at least 10 times during the pandemic.

The evolutionary model of the virus showed that none of the mutations were passed on to offspring more efficiently than others. There was no evidence that any mutation improves transmission of the virus.

Scientists paid special attention to the D614G mutation, which is associated with the S-protein of the virus, since it was previously suggested that it is associated with an increase in infectivity. In this analysis, no association of the D614G mutation with increased transmission was found.

“We still expect the virus to mutate and its lineage will finally split into different lineages. But this does not necessarily mean that any of the emerging lines will become more infectious or harmful,”said Dr. Lucy van Dorp, co-author of the study.

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