New mutation of coronavirus renders it up to eight times more infectious in human cells – Dangerous mutation | The Economic Times
The D614G mutation in the spike protein of the novel coronavirus renders it up to eight times more infectious in human cells than the initial virus that originated in China, according to a study. The spike protein is used by SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19, to enter the host cells.
The research, published in the journal eLife, confirms findings that D614G — one of several mutations in the concerning variants that have emerged in the UK, South Africa, and Brazil — makes the coronavirus more transmissible.
Prevalent and dominant
The researchers noted that the D614G mutation in the coronavirus spike protein likely emerged in early 2020, and is now the most prevalent and dominant form of the virus in many countries around the world. Scientists have been working to understand the functional significance of these mutations and whether they meaningfully change how infectious or deadly the virus is.
The researchers also found that the spike protein mutation made the virus more resistant to being split by other proteins. This provides a possible mechanism for the variant’s increased ability to infect cells, as the hardier variant resulted in a greater proportion of intact spike protein per virus, they said.
Infectious and efficient
“The D614G variant infects human cells much more efficiently than the wild type,” said Zharko Daniloski, a postdoctoral fellow in Sanjana’s lab at NYU and the New York Genome Center. The findings support a growing consensus among scientists that the D614G variant is more infectious, the researchers said. It may be beneficial for future booster shots to include diverse forms of the spike protein from different circulating variants, according to the researchers.