Florida-based researchers have recently stated that they believe they have proved that the novel coronavirus has mutated in such a way that it can infect human cells much easier. The scientists explained that there is still more research that has to be performed in order to see whether the change has changed the actual course of the pandemic, but one researcher that was not involved in the study said that it probably was. If it is the case, this would explain why the virus has spread so much in the United States and Latin America.
This has worried researchers for a very long time, and now, scientists affiliated with the Scripps Research Institute in Florida have expressed the fact that the mutation affects the actual spike of the protein. The spike is a structure on the outside of the virus that it uses to stick itself into cells, infecting them. If the researchers’ findings are confirmed, it would be the first time that someone has successfully demonstrated a change seen in the virus with an actual impact on the pandemic.
Hyeryun Choe, a virologist affiliated with the Scripps Research Institute, has mentioned in a statement that viruses with this mutation were a lot more infectious than those that do not have the mutation in the cell culture system that was used by the researchers. This news comes after a statement made earlier this week by the World Health Organization. They have expressed the fact that mutations seen until now in the novel coronavirus do not affect the efficacy of vaccines that are currently being developed. Just last week, the World Health Organization mentioned that mutations had not made it more easy for the virus to transmit from host to others. WHO also mentioned that the recent mutations had not made the virus more likely to lead to severe forms of the disease.