Coronavirus mutation theory may not be true, say experts
The mutation theory, that states the emergence of a more transmissible strain of the novel coronavirus through mutation, might not be true, says the data compiled by Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.
It was Los Alamos National Laboratory researchers and others who reported in a paper in BioRxiv that 1 strain, called Spike D614G, became dominant quickly in Europe. After analysing a global database of SARS-CoV-2 strains, the team hypothesized that the mutation allows the virus to more easily infect cells.
But in a report published in The Washington Post experts warn that the emergence of a more transmissible strain of the novel coronavirus must be interpreted with caution.
University of Iowa’s Stanley Perlman says that even though it looks more readily transmissible, the viruses generally do not mutate to become more virulent (unless this enhances transmissibility).
However,Harvard epidemiologist William Hanage, says that the mutation theory could explain why Spike D614G has become dominant. He notes that the virus hit an older, more vulnerable population in Italy—a classic case of “the fox that got into the henhouse”and contrast that with Washington state—where effective public health interventions have reduced transmission of both strains, Hanage would expect a truly more transmissible strain to crowd out other versions.