New Covid-19 strain is 10 times more infectious but ‘less deadly’
Published: 01:14 PM, 2 September 2020
A mutated strain of Covid-19 or coronavirus which is spreading through Europe is believed to be 10 times more infectious, however, it appears less deadly.
“The D614G mutation is becoming more common in Europe and has recently been detected in Malaysia and Singapore,” said Dr. Paul Tambyah, president of the International Society of Infectious Diseases in the United States.
Dr. Tambyah, who is also a senior consultant at the National University of Singapore, said there is evidence that the new strain dropped the death rates which suggests it is less lethal.
Most viruses tend to become less severe as they mutate, he also said, adding, “Maybe it’s a good this which is less deadly.”
Meanwhile, Malaysia's director-general of health Noor Hisham Abdullah urged people to become more vigilant after what is believed to be the D614G strain was found in two recent clusters in the country.
“The mutant affects the binding of the spike protein and not necessarily the recognition of the protein by the immune system, which would be primed by a vaccine,” he said.
However, Dr. Tambyah disagreed saying said the mutations would not change the virus enough to make potential vaccines less effective.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the D614G mutation was first discovered by scientists in February this year. However, WHO said there is no evidence the mutation has led to the virus becoming more severe.