The Institute of Medical Research just announced that they found the D614G mutation in samples from all new COVID-19 clusters in Malaysia!
Here is a quick primer on their research, and the implication of their new findings!
D614G Mutation : What Is It?
The D614G mutation refers to an amino acid change in the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
The mutation appears to make that particular SARS-CoV-2 variant more infectious – potentially 10 times higher than the original virus.
However, it does not appear to cause a more severe COVID-19 disease.
- Korber et. a. (2020) found that patients infected with this variant had higher levels of virus RNA, but there was no difference in hospitalisation outcomes.
- Wagner et al. (2020) confirmed it in a study of 175 COVID-19 patients in Seattle, WA.
- Lorenzo-Redondo et. al (2020) also confirmed it in their study of 88 patients in Chicago, IL.
IMR : D614G Mutation Found In All New COVID-19 Clusters!
The Institute of Medical Research analysed the genome of 32 virus samples from five major COVID-19 clusters in Malaysia :
- LD Benteng Cluster : 23 virus samples
- Sivagangga PUI Cluster : 4 virus samples
- Tawar Cluster : 3 virus samples
- Sungai Cluster : 1 virus sample
- Bukit Tiram Cluster : 1 virus sample
Their genetic analysis of those COVID-19 virus samples revealed that :
- The D614G mutation was found in all 32 virus samples
- Virus from more recent clusters in Kedah are related to the older Sivagangga and Tawar clusters, and probably have a similar origin.
- The 23 virus samples from the LD Benteng Cluster were found not to be related to the virus samples in Kedah, even though they shared the same D614G mutation.
D614G Mutation : The Implications
While the D614G mutation does not appear to cause a more severe COVID-19 disease, it appears to be significantly more contagious.
In fact, SARS-CoV-2 viruses with this D614G mutation are now dominant in many parts of the world.
Therefore, the Malaysia Ministry of Health is strongly advising the public to be vigilant, and to continue practicing protective measures against COVID-19 infections.
COVID-19 : How To Keep Safe!
Here are a few simple steps to stay safe from COVID-19 :
- Stay at home or shelter in place
- Keep your hands clean with soap or hand sanitiser
- Keep your home, office, vehicle, etc. clean
- If you must go out, maintain a social distance of 6 feet (2 metres)
- Wear a surgical mask and make sure you put it on and remove it properly!
- Wash your food with water (and soap) after purchase and before preparation
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