Nepal | September 28, 2020

Infectious COVID-19 mutation may be “a good thing”, says disease expert

Reuters
Share Now:

SINGAPORE: A mutation of the novel coronavirus increasingly common throughout Europe and recently detected in Malaysia may be more infectious but appears less deadly, according to a prominent infectious diseases doctor.

Paul Tambyah, senior consultant at the National University of Singapore and president-elect of the US-based International Society of Infectious Diseases, said the D614G mutation has also been found in Singapore.

The city-state’s health ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Tambyah said there is evidence the proliferation of the mutation in Europe has coincided with a drop in death rates, suggesting it is less lethal.

The mutation is not likely to impact the efficacy of a potential vaccine, despite warnings to the contrary from other health experts, he added.

“Maybe that’s a good thing to have a virus that is more infectious but less deadly,” Tambyah told Reuters.

Tambyah said most viruses tend to become less virulent as they mutate.

“It is in the virus’ interest to infect more people but not to kill them because a virus depends on the host for food and for shelter,” he said.

Scientists discovered the mutation as early as February and it has circulated in Europe and the Americas, the World Health Organization said. The WHO has also said there is no evidence the mutation has led to more severe disease.

On Sunday, Malaysia’s director-general of health Noor Hisham Abdullah urged greater public vigilance after authorities detected what they believe was the D614G mutation of the coronavirus in two recent clusters.

Noor Hisham said the new strain detected was 10 times more infectious and that vaccines currently in development may not be effective against this mutation.

But Tambyah said such mutations would not likely change the virus enough to make potential vaccines less effective.

“The mutant affects the binding of the spike protein and not necessarily the recognition of the protein by the immune system, which would be primed by a vaccine,” he said.


Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

leicester city, Jamie Vardy

Vardy treble inspires Leicester to 5-2 win over Man City

MANCHESTER: A Jamie Vardy hat-trick coupled with goals from James Maddison and Youri Tielemans steered Leicester City to a stunning 5-2 win at Manchester City on Sunday and kept them top of the Premier League with a maximum nine points from three games. City had not conceded five go Read More...

Prominent personalities urge govt to save Dr KC

KATHMANDU, SEPTEMBER 27 A group of 33 citizens, who once held prominent positions, have urged the government to save the life of Dr Govinda KC, who has been staging a fast-unto-death demanding reform in the medical education sector for the past 14 days. Issuing a joint press release today they Read More...

La Liga, barcelona, Lionel Messi

Messi back in scoring business in dream start for Koeman

BARCELONA: Lionel Messi was back in scoring business for Barcelona on Sunday, leading them to a resounding 4-0 win at home against Villarreal in a near-perfect La Liga opener for the Catalans under new coach Ronald Koeman. Teenage forward Ansu Fati was in inspirational form for Barca, c Read More...

Atletico Madrid, Luis Suarez, La Liga

Suarez scores twice, gets assist as Atletico lay down marker

MADRID: Luis Suarez had a stunning impact on his debut for Atletico Madrid following his move from Barcelona, scoring twice and providing an assist as his side crushed Granada 6-1 at home in their first game of the La Liga season on Sunday. Suarez, who only completed his switch from Barc Read More...

Replace all Cabinet ministers: NCP Co-chair Dahal

KATHMANDU, SEPTEMBER 27 Co-chairs of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) — Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli — met today to discuss Cabinet reshuffle. A source close to Dahal told THT that Dahal asked Oli to replace all the ministers in his Cabinet, but the PM did not Read More...

CCTV surveillance/monitoring of kathmandu traffic

People told to be aware of fraudsters

KATHMANDU, SEPTEMBER 27 Police have urged people, especially those going abroad or returning from foreign countries, to be aware of fraudsters offering to exchange dollar bills at a rate cheaper than the market price. According to statistics with the Metropolitan Police Office, at least such 1 Read More...

Tourism activities resume in Pokhara

POKHARA, SEPTEMBER 27 Tourism industry has shown signs of revival after six months of the COVID-19 induced lockdown was relaxed in Pokhara. Mardi Himal Trek has witnessed mobility of tourists. Number of domestic tourists along the trekking route is on the rise, according to Raju Poudel, owner Read More...

NCB arrests three with 10 kg opium in Pokhara

KATHMANDU, SEPTEMBER 27 The Narcotics Control Bureau, Koteshwor, arrested three persons with 10 kilograms opium from Pokhara Metropolitan City, Kaski, yesterday. They have been identified as Gaja Pun, 50, and Chakkar Bahadur Pun, 40, of Eastern Rukum and Rabi Gurung, 24, of Gorkha. Superint Read More...