A new study suggests a new strain of COVID-19 made the pandemic spread like wildfire in the US, UK, and Italy.
The buff version of COVID-19 is known as D614G, and it features four to five times more “spikes” on its outer shell, thus being more likely to latch onto human hosts.
Unfortunately, the bad news doesn’t stop there. The increased number of spikes makes the virus more infectious and more resilient and stable.
The study’s hypothesis started from the researcher’s observations that revealed some countries and states had been hit harder by the ongoing pandemic than others.
Past And Current Situation
Previous data has revealed that the new strain was present preponderantly in the UK, Italy, and New York City, where the death toll and infection rate are among the worst in the world.
A recent study made by scientists at Scripps Research confirmed that the newly mutated strain is capable of infecting receptors significantly easier than other strains.
Though the research only analyzed D614G’s behavior in a controlled laboratory medium, experts believe that it’s “plausible” that the strain’s viral structure makes it more infectious in humans.
“Yes, it is plausible. The work is good quality and would mean that the virus could successfully infect at a lower dose and spread more widely,” stated Professor Ian Jones, a virologist at the University of Reading in England.
The “spike” protein is the reason why the new strain is so successful at infecting people.
The “spike” is a protein on the outer layer of the virus, which allows it to be better at hopping on human cells.
When it comes to such viruses, the more spikes they have, the more likely they are to stick to a human cell and hijack it for reproduction.