By now we all have heard that COVID-19 has some genetic variations.
A new study published in the journal Cell has found that the genetic variation of COVID-19 infects human cells more readily than the original that emerged in China.
According to a report in AFP, researchers from the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico and Duke University in North Carolina partnered with the University of Sheffield's COVID-19 Genomics UK research group to analyse genome samples published on GISAID, an international resource for sharing genome sequences.
In the research, they found that the current variant, called "D614G," makes a small but potent change in the "spike" protein that protrudes from the surface of the virus, which it uses to invade and infect human cells.
Findings not taken seriously at first
The scientists’ paper was first posted to the medical preprint site bioRxiv in April, but it was criticised because they failed to prove that the mutation itself was responsible for its domination.
This led to additional research where they found those with the genetic variant had more viral particles in them, but without this changing the severity of their disease.
Meanwhile, laboratory experiments showed that the variant is three to six times more capable of infecting human cells.
Let’s hope that there is more research on this matter so we could be more prepared.