The Covid-19 pandemic is turning out to be one of the most devastating one the human population has come across in the recent decades. Recently scientists have confirmed the presence of a newer variant of COVID-19. This newer variant of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus virus genome, previously associated with increased viral transmission and the spread of COVID-19, is more infectious in cell culture. This newer variant D614G creates a simple change in the viral spike proteins making it more infectious.
Geographic information from the viral samples has seen a notable shift in the covid 19 virus from its original form to the newer D614G version. And this shift in viral population has been seen at every geographic level.
Interestingly studies have proved that the SARS-COVID-2 virus has a low mutation rate , much lower if we compare it to Influenza or HIV-AIDS.
The D614G variant appears as part of a set of four linked mutations that appear to have arisen once and then moved together around the world as a consistent set of variations.
Fortunately, according to the clinical data even though the newer version of the virus increases the transmission rate as well as the copy number of the virus in patients compared to the older version of coronavirus, the severity remains the same, highlighting the need to use masks and sanitizers more in the current situation.
The study, “Tracking changes in SARS-CoV-2 Spike: evidence that D614G increases infectivity of the COVID-19 virus” was supported by the Medical Research Council (MRC) part of UK Research & Innovation (UKRI the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR); Genome Research Limited, operating as the Wellcome Sanger Institute; CoVIC, INV-006133 of the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator, supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Mastercard, Wellcome; private philanthropic support, as well as the Overton family; a FastGrant, from Emergent Ventures, in aid of COVID-19 research; and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, under Interagency Agreement No. AAI12007-001-00000, and the Los Alamos Laboratory Directed Research and Development program.
In another study, loss of smell and taste have been linked to Covid-19 infections. Recent studies have proved that if you experience loss in smell or taste you are 10 times more likely to be suffering from covid infection than any other cause. The virus infections have shown high prevalence of certain sensory impairments covid positive patients. Taken into account these studies, the health officials have include loss of smell and taste as a marker to test possible Covid -19 patients.
The new found viral strain D614G showing spike mutation is scaring the scientists. This new mutation is being seen in almost 50% of the studied cases in India . This new mutation is not only dangerous but also raises concern on vaccine generation against the coronavirus. This also means that even if a vaccine is created, it will need periodic testing and updating.
Humans are social beings , the most adverse affect of Covid-19 has been the mental stress of social distancing and self isolation. These two factors are also turning into the most basic criteria for survival. Survival and controlling this pandemic is really difficult with this current mutation. People attitude is also making it difficult to be controlled, as people are defying the government set restrictions . This is where we need to think and prioritize life above freedom.
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