April 22, 2020
from News-Medical Website
Now, a new study (Patient-derived
Mutations impact the pathogenicity of SARS-CoV-2) reveals
that the novel coronavirus has mutated into at least 30
different genetic variants, affecting different parts of the
These mutations include
rare changes that scientists had never imagined could happen.
As the SARS-CoV-2 ripples across the globe, scientists worry that the virus will mutate into something deadlier and become a more significant threat to humanity.
Mutations and rapid
They tested how the virus
can effectively infect and kills the cells in the body. The team
identified more than 30 different mutations of the virus,
wherein 19 were never seen before.
On the other hand, weaker strains were seen in some parts of the United States, such as Washington State.
The paper, which was published in the online journal MedRxiv, highlights how studying the mutations can help provide a basis for vaccine development.
The tricky part is with more mutations happening. It will take some time before a vaccine can be developed. This is the first study to provide an insight into how a mutation could impact the severity of the disease.
For instance, the virus in New York is stronger and more aggressive, and it has the highest infection toll in the country.
of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome virus particles (yellow)
attached to the surface of an infected VERO E6 cell (blue).
Image captured and color-enhanced at the
NIAID Integrated Research Facility in Fort Detrick, Maryland.
Take, for example, two patients in the study in Zhejian, who are in their 30s and 50s, had contracted the weaker strain of the virus but became severely-ill.
Though the patients had
recovered, they required admission in the intensive care unit
Further, potent strains kill human cells fastest.
The team believes the previous mutations that were not reported could be the reason behind the high death tolls in some parts of Europe and New York.
The United States now has
the highest number of confirmed cases and deaths, with 840,897 and
SARS-CoV-2 viruses are binding to
ACE-2 receptors on a human cell,
the initial stage of COVID-19 infection.
Conceptual 3D illustration
credit: Kateryna Kon / Shutterstock
Patients with COVID-19 are being treated in hospitals using one treatment, regardless of the strain they have. The researchers suggest that knowing the different mutations can aid in providing the right treatment to patients.
Also, they can determine
actions to battle the virus.
The United States and some countries in Europe, such as,
...have reported the highest number of cases.