New Strain of Coronavirus Is Possibly More Contagious

And it happens to be the dominant one right now, researchers find
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted May 5, 2020 2:15 PM CDT
New Strain of Coronavirus Is Possibly More Contagious
This undated electron microscope image made available by the US National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.   (NIAID-RML via AP)

The strain of coronavirus that much of the world is fighting now isn't the original one—and it's potentially more treacherous, per a study out of Los Alamos National Laboratory. The Los Angeles Times reports the research, which has yet to be peer-reviewed, found the strain surfaced in Europe in early February and was the dominant one across the planet by mid-March. It seems to be more contagious, and it may increase a sufferer's vulnerability to re-infection. The researchers found that a mutation "of urgent concern" dubbed D614G alters the spikes that make up the exterior of the coronavirus; those spikes facilitate its entry into respiratory cells.

The researchers felt it vital to disseminate their findings so that those working on vaccines and treatments—particularly those in which compounds attach onto or otherwise interact with the spike—could adjust as necessary, they say. The New York Times, meanwhile, reports on two new studies involving children. While it cautions neither is definitive in regard to whether children can transmit the virus, they do provide evidence to that end. In one, out of Germany, researchers found that children who tested positive didn't have less virus than adults, indicating they are likely just as contagious. (Read more coronavirus stories.)

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