Malaysia witnesses ten-times fatal strain of COVID-19, D614G
Recently, Malaysia has detected a mutation of SARS-CoV-2, which may affect the population in new ways with new symptoms.
Malaysia’s Health ministry announced a mutation of SARS-Cov-2 on Sunday. The new mutation of the virus has been discovered when a man returning from India defied quarantine rules and infected over 45 people. When the 45 cases were treated, it was found that out of 45, 3 persons showed more severe mutation of COVID-19 termed D614G.
It is said that the mutation was first detected in February in Europe and since then has become a dominant variant of SARC-CoV-2. The variant is present within the protein making up the virus’s “spike” it uses to break into our cells. This mutation changes the amino acid at position 614, from D (aspartic acid) to G (glycerine), so, D-614-G.
According to Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, Director General of Health, Malaysia, the prevailing mutation, observed earlier in the US and Europe could prove more dangerous. It is likely to bring unprecedented problems for the virus resurgence.
Dr. Abdullah’s findings also suggest that people should be more cautious to suppress the spread of COVID-19, in a Facebook post which is now going viral:
“People need to be wary and take greater precautions because this strain has now been proven to be detected in Malaysia. Community cooperation is much needed so that we can together break the chain of infection from any mutation.”
The original virus has undergone several variations since the pandemic emerged in December 2019. However, till now only D614G has been detected. Sometime after the Wuhan outbreak, the mutation had appeared, probably in Italy. According to the BBC report in July, this strain had been seen in approximately 97% of samples around the world.
Hence, the question arises whether this mutation will increase COVID-19 transmissibility? It is said, that all viruses mutate constantly as they are replicating constantly. But, however, some variations may help the virus reproduce, some prohibits it while others make no difference.
As per the lab tests and studies conducted by Scripps University, Florida and New York Genome Center and New York University, the researchers said that the mutated viruses are more transmissible than original versions “at least in the lab tests.” However, it is still ambiguous about the nature of mutated virus in transmission among real patients.
Two studies published in Cell, by Dr. Korber and another by WHO Collaborating Center in China, states that D614G, the dominant strain of SARS-CoV-2 seems 10-fold more infectious than the original Wuhan-1 strain.
The biggest threat is whether the said mutation will affect development of vaccine?
According to Dr. Noor Hisham Abdullah, a mutation could put forward several shortcomings regarding vaccine delivery. But, as per the experts, the mutation won’t really make much difference to the way vaccines are being worked right now.
The fact is that, the mutation is slow, so the vaccines could easily adapt to the changes and save populations from infections and possible reinfections.
Apart from this, interventions and non-pharmaceutical methods could also help to curb the spread of virus. Social distancing and lockdown are the best way to reduce its spread in the population.