Reports of a new strain of Covid-19 D614G emerging in Asia, Europe & North America are circulating, creating a new wave of panic. We will tell you why it just might be good for us, what is a new vulnerability discovered and what are the overall long lasting symptoms.
Crux of the Matter
New Strain In Malaysia?
A new strain of the SARS-COV-2, the novel coronavirus, has been found in Malaysia. The D614G mutation is 10x more infectious than Covid-19. The same strain was also detected in Philippines, Europe & North America.
It reportedly started after a restaurant owner returned from India and violated his 14-day home quarantine. As of now, the man has been sent to prison for five months and fined.
Less Fatal, More Infectious?
Paul Tambyah of the International Society of Infectious Diseases and NUS, Singapore said evidence points out that the emergence of D614G mutation has coincided with a drop in death rates.
Most viruses tend to become less virulent/harmful as they mutate. Since a virus depends on the host for food and for shelter, it is in the virus’s interest to infect more people but not to kill them. This makes them more infectious but less fatal than the original virus strain.
What Does WHO Have To Say?
The WHO confirms that there is no evidence the mutation has led to more severe disease. Their analysis in Asia-Pacific adds that the COVID-19 spread is being intensified by younger people in age group 20-30.
According to a virtual briefing by WHO’s Western-Pacific regional director Takeshi Kasai, many have mild or no Covid-19 symptoms but they risk infecting the elderly and other vulnerable population.
New Vulnerability Found?
A new vulnerability has also been discovered in the spike protein of the novel coronavirus, which enables the virus to enter and infect the host cells of the body.
This study published in the journal ACS Nano, uses simulations of this protein at microscopic scales, and finds out about a polybasic cleavage site.
What’s A Polybasic Cleavage Site?
- It is a positively charged site located 10 nm from the actual binding site on the spike protein. This site allows strong bonding between SARS-CoV-2’s spike protein and the negatively charged human-cell receptors.
- Thus they designed a negatively charged molecule to bind to the positively charged cleavage site and confirmed that blocking this site, prohibits the virus from bonding to the host cell.
- Scientists plan to work with chemists and pharmacologists to design a new drug that could do the same in real-time.
Long Lasting COVID-19 Symptoms Found?
There’s an increasing no. of people globally who have been declared Covid-19 free, only to find persistent symptoms lasting weeks or months later on.
A new survey of 1,567 such ‘long-haulers’ shows how wide-ranging these symptoms are. The results grew out of a Facebook page called Survivor Corps, devoted to educating Covid-19 long-haulers and connecting them to the research communities.
As per epidemiologist and Covid survivor Margot Gage Witvliet, their problems are real and are being ignored by the medical fraternity and dismissed as psychological issues.
- In biology, saltation is a sudden and large mutational change from one generation to the next. This was historically offered as an alternative to Darwinism.
- Natural selection is a key mechanism of evolution which differentiates survival and reproduction of individuals due to differences in phenotype. Charles Darwin popularised the term “natural selection”.
- On the Origin of Species, published on 24 November 1859, is a work of scientific literature by Charles Darwin which is considered to be the foundation of evolutionary biology. The book presented a body of evidence that the diversity of life arose by common descent through a branching pattern of evolution.
- Wion News – Malaysia: New strain of coronavirus, 10 times more infectious found
- News18 – More Infectious But Less Deadly Coronavirus Mutation May be ‘a Good Thing’, Says Disease Expert
- Livemint – WHO warns people under 50 driving virus spread in Asia-Pacific
- Deccan Herald – Scientists discover new vulnerability in coronavirus
- News Medical – What is a Polybasic Cleavage Site?
- Medium – New Survey Identifies 98 Long-Lasting Covid Symptoms