Genetic and Engineering News: A new variant of SARS-CoV-2 designated D614G is displacing the original variant D614 in all geographic regions. The new variant has been shown in laboratory studies to be more infectious but less lethal than the original D614 variant.
“The laboratory results were detailed in an article that appeared in the journal Cell, in an article titled, “Tracking changes in SARS-CoV-2 Spike: evidence that D614G increases infectivity of the COVID-19 virus.” Besides addressing the question of infectivity, the article presents geographic information about the rise of the new variant, G614, and the relative decline of the previously dominant variant, D614, across the globe.”
This may explain why most patients only get a mild version, or no symptoms at all. This is good news, hopefully this new variant will out-compete the D614 variant. This would mean that more people become infected with a mild case which should lead to more rapid immunity in the population.
“The virus doesn’t ‘want’ to be more lethal. It ‘wants’ to be more transmissible,” Saphire explained. “A virus ‘wants’ you to help it spread copies of itself. It ‘wants’ you to go to work and school and social gatherings and transmit it to new hosts. Of course, a virus is inanimate—it doesn’t ‘want’ anything. But a surviving virus is one that disseminates further and more efficiently. A virus that kills its host rapidly doesn’t go as far—think of cases of Ebola. A virus that lets its host go about their business will disseminate better—like with the common cold.”