A “mutant” strain of Coronavirus has been identified according to a new study reported in the LA Times today.
The LA times said that Scientists have identified a new strain of the coronavirus that has become dominant worldwide.
The “mutant” Coronavirus appears to be more contagious than the versions that spread in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new study led by scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
The new strain appeared in February in Europe and has been the dominant strain across the world since mid-March, the scientists wrote.
The mutation is a possible factor in the high spread and rate of infection and death in the US and Europe compared to China and neighbouring nations.
The report’s authors said they felt an “urgent need for an early warning” so that vaccines and drugs under development around the world will be effective against the mutated strain.
“The story is worrying, as we see a mutated form of the virus very rapidly emerging, and over the month of March becoming the dominant pandemic form,” study leader Bette Korber, a computational biologist at Los Alamos, wrote on her Facebook page. “When viruses with this mutation enter a population, they rapidly begin to take over the local epidemic, thus they are more transmissible.”
“This is hard news,” wrote Korber, “but please don’t only be disheartened by it. Our team at LANL was able to document this mutation and its impact on transmission only because of a massive global effort of clinical people and experimental groups, who make new sequences of the virus (SARS-CoV-2) in their local communities available as quickly as they possibly can.”
The Sydney News Authors