Coronavirus more contagious, but less virulent, several studies say

Published by Laurent P. · Published on 21 August 2020 at 11h13 · Updated on 25 August 2020 at 14h11
Three scientific studies released between June and July 2020 say that coronavirus might have mutated into a more contagious kind, but less virulent. A mutation that might affect the spike protein enabling the virus to stick to cells.

Is coronavirus more contagious but less virulent now? This is what three scientific studies released between June and July 2020 say, one in Cell, and the other two on BioRxiv. Three studies focusing on a mutation of the S (Spike) protein called “D614G” enabling the virus to stick to cells and contaminate humans.

What is this mutation about? This Spike protein no longer works properly and no longer attach to human cells as easily. It even does it differently: it keeps on improving the penetration of the virus within the system. Yet, it also weakens the virus. A mutation that has been noticed everywhere across the world, as the mutation has been found in 78% of the gene sequences of the virus. That is to say the main form of Covid-19 in the world, scientists say.

Good news for the medical world that may – by all accounts – see fewer hospitalizations in intensive care units. But even though these studies are encouraging, they yet have to be confirmed by others. The three studies can explain the current situation in France in light of the daily growing contamination toll (as of Friday August 21, the day we publish this article, 4,711 new Covid-19 cases were reported in 24 hours – Editor’s Note), but there is a stable hospitalization number in ICU (with 4?806 people hospitalized in France).

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