‘More Contagious’ Coronavirus Strain Becoming Dominant Form of Disease Worldwide, According to Study
A group of scientists from the Los Alamos National Laboratory are warning of a new strain of the coronavirus disease that is more contagious than the original.
The scientists published their research into the new strain of the disease in a paper on Tuesday. They claim that the new form of coronavirus originated in Europe before spreading to the United States, and could in time prove to be even more dangerous.
The current general scientific consensus is that patients who have recovered from coronavirus cannot get sick with the disease a second time. The spread of a new strain of the virus could make it possible for humans with coronavirus antibodies to incur the viral disease a second time.
“The mutation Spike D614G is of urgent concern; after beginning to spread in Europe in early February, when introduced to new regions it repeatedly and rapidly becomes the dominant form. Also, we present evidence of recombination between locally circulating strains, indicative of multiple strain infections. These finding have important implications for SARS-CoV-2 transmission, pathogenesis and immune interventions.”
Viruses that infect millions of humans often mutate into more advantageous forms, through the process of natural selection. While a wide spread of the coronavirus disease does mean that many people develop immunity to the disease, it also means the virus has a large playing field for mutations favorable for its further spread to naturally develop.
Virologists have noted a lack of genetic diversity among coronavirus samples, which testifies in great part to the novelty of the disease. Scientists researching the disease are hoping that coronavirus proves to be less biologically adaptable than influenza, which requires a new vaccine every year. Unfortunately, the research into the new strain of the disease could cast doubt on such an assumption.