The dangerous mutation SARS-CoV-2 infects humans with the virus 2.5 to 8 times faster. In addition, the immune system attacks the virus with such a mutation more slowly. By the way, the new mutation COVID-19 is found in more than half of the studied strains of coronavirus. The results are published in the bioRxiv electronic scientific library.
Scientists from the United States conducted a study and revealed a new danger COVID-19. The most common mutation in the SARS-CoV-2 genome increases the chance of a virus to penetrate human cells from 2.5 to 8 times. It is this mutation that is characteristic of more than half of the studied virus strains. The new SARS-CoV-2 isolate carries a point mutation in the D614G protein and has already quickly surpassed the others in prevalence.
In their work, scientists from the University of New York, led by Neville Sanjana, used new data and came to disappointing conclusions. Mutation D614G can not only help the virus penetrate the body, but also accelerate its spread between the most different types of human cells. Most seriously affected are the lungs, liver, and intestines. Researchers have already suggested the cause of the increased infectivity of SARS-CoV-2. Mutation D614G makes the cells of the virus more resistant to immunity.
Despite convincing evidence that this mutation helps the coronavirus, only now scientists have been able to find out exactly what it affects. The fact is that D614G almost always occurs with another mutation, P314L. In turn, it changes the operation of the ORF1b site. And it is critical when copying the RNA of a virus and its reproduction inside infected cells.
Their disequilibrium linkage did not allow scientists to understand what each of the mutations in the genome individually does. Such an interaction makes it difficult to recognize the functional significance of D614G from population genetics alone.
Scientists have solved the problem by creating “models” of coronavirus with luminous cells, adding protein with D614G. Experiments have shown a mutation of the virus dramatically increased its infectivity. The number of luminous intestinal cells increased by 2.5 times, in the lungs, their number increased by five times, and in the liver by almost eight times.
In addition, the mutation reduced the chance of immunity to recognize the virus with D614G. Also, enzymes of the immune system destroyed the membranes of the mutated version of coronavirus much more slowly.