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How a mutant coronavirus strain dominated the world: Scientists discover change to COVID-19 variant that lets it copy itself more efficiently – making it more infectious (but not more deadly)
July 4, 2020 in News by RBN Staff

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source: www.dailymail.co.uk
By MARY KEKATOS SENIOR HEALTH REPORTER FOR DAILYMAIL.COM
A small change to a variant of the novel coronavirus has helped it better copy itself but not make it more deadly, a new study suggests.
Researchers found there were two strains of the virus circulating when it reached the US: the original D614 and a mutation, G614.
This mutation is not a deadlier version of the coronavirus but it does help the virus copy itself better, which results in a higher viral load in patients.
Dr Erica Ollmann Saphire, a professor of at the La Jolla Institute of Immunology in California, says viruses often mutate to ‘escape’ antibodies created by our immune systems.
This phenomenon of viruses making enough changes to ‘drift’ away from the original virus is known as antigenic drift.
It’s one reason why new flu shots are needed every fall, because the dominant strain is often so different from the one the year before.
Health experts say coronavirus mutates at a slower rate than several other respiratory viruses, particularly the the flu.
For the study, published in the journal Cell, the team tracked the spread of both the G and D viruses.
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