In a new study, molecular biologists led by Danny Xu of the Institute of Biochemistry at the Taiwan Academy of Sciences said the most common mutation made the coronavirus insensitive to cold.
We are talking about the D614G mutation – this is the first known major change in the genome of a new type of coronavirus. The shell of the mutated virus remains stable even in cold weather. Now it can exist long enough at four degrees Celsius.
The authors note that now virtually all variations of the coronavirus circulating among the population of all continents of the Earth have this mutation.
The researchers managed to explain why this particular variation of the coronavirus began to spread much faster than the original one. It turned out that the S-protein, which does not have the D614G mutation, changed shape a week after the virus was kept in the refrigerator. In particular, 96% of protein samples without this mutation lost their original shape.
Likewise, mutant versions of the protein tolerated higher temperatures and generally resisted extreme fluctuations in ambient conditions better.
The researchers believe that a detailed study of this mutation may help create a vaccine against infection, but they do not yet know the exact mechanism of D614G and the effect on the human body.