The various mutations that the Sars-CoV-2 virus has undergone since it appeared are making it more contagious, concluded a new American study, which associates the discovery with the worsening number of infections in the USA.
A team of researchers from Houston, Texas, analyzed more than 5,000 genetic sequences of the new coronavirus and concluded that, as it spreads, the mutations it undergoes make it more contagious. However, there is no evidence that, as it changes and spreads, it is becoming more lethal or causing different symptoms.
The study in question details that the mutation that affects the protein “spike” (which allows the virus to enter cells), which changed the amino acid 614 from “D” (aspartic acid) to “G” (glycine), can increase the transmissibility of the virus. A British study released in early September also found that a mutation in the structure of this protein could increase the spread of the virus.
“Each mutation is a game of dice and with transmission so widespread in the United States – that it continues to have tens of thousands of new infections daily – the virus has had abundant opportunities to change, potentially with problematic consequences,” said one of the study’s authors. , James Musser, from Houston Methodist Hospital, ao “Washington Post”.
Mutations may continue even after vaccination
David Morens, a virologist at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, analyzed the research and considers that there is even a strong possibility that the virus has become more transmissible. And that these changes may have occurred precisely to respond to the contingency measures created by the population. “Wearing a mask, washing your hands, all these things are barriers to transmissibility or to contagion, but as the virus becomes more contagious it becomes more urgent to circumvent these barriers”, he considered.
If the study’s findings are confirmed, Morens told the American newspaper, the virus may continue to mutate even after a vaccine is available, meaning that it will need to be modified frequently, as with the seasonal flu vaccine. “Although we don’t know yet, it is quite possible that this coronavirus, when population immunity becomes high enough, will find a way to circumvent our immunity. If that happened, we would be in the same situation as the flu. We will have to chase the virus and, as mutations, we will have to work on our vaccine “.