Why the Coronavirus Mutation Isn't As Scary As It Sounds
You may have read that a more aggressive and contagious form of coronavirus is making its way across the United States. But experts say there’s no need to worry about a potentially more harmful strain of the virus, according to NPR.
Here’s how the news spread
A study from the Los Alamos National Laboratory concluded that a mutation in the novel coronavirus emerged in Europe in February and has since spread. The preprint was posted online and not published in a scientific journal, meaning it was not peer-reviewed to determine whether the findings are valid.
“The mutation Spike D614G is of urgent concern; after beginning to spread in Europe in early February, when introduced to new regions it repeatedly and rapidly becomes the dominant form,” the study authors write.
Various news outlets reported on the results after finding the study posted online.
Here’s why you shouldn’t worry
Virus mutation is normal, but these changes don’t mean the virus is more dangerous or easily transmissible, according to Ewan Harrison, scientific project manager for the COVID-19 Genomics UK Consortium.
“Viruses mutate naturally as part of their life cycle,” Harrison to NPR.
Although some mutations could cause changes in how the virus spreads, others may do nothing at all. As of now, experts agree there is no evidence the mutation referenced in the paper changes how this virus spreads or whether it could make you more sick, NPR reported. Discussions among scientists also suggest this mutation won’t derail current attempts to create a vaccine.
Experts have even spoken out about the new finding.
“This preprint has been getting attention. It claims that the SARS-CoV-2 virus is mutating into a more transmissible form as the pandemic wears on. I think those claims are suspect, to say the least,” Bill Hange, associate professor at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, posted on Twitter.
This preprint has been getting attention. It claims that the SARS-CoV-2 virus is mutating into a more transmissible form as the pandemic wears on. I think those claims are suspect, to say the least https://t.co/pmL7neWzR7 1/n
Bottom line: There’s no reason to add one more coronavirus worry to your life.
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