A mutant form of coronavirus being “10 times more infectious” was Malaysia and the Philippines and could lead to a spike in infections.
The D614G variant of the virus that causes COVID-19 has been associated with outbreaks in Europe and New York, and has been present in Singapore since February, according to reports.
The variant is only very slightly different from the strain of novel coronavirus that emerged in Wuhan, China in late 2019, but became the dominant form worldwide by March, scientists said.
The mutation “allows it to enter human cells the way a burglar picks a lock,” the Washington Post reported in July.
The new strain was detected during tests in the Quezon City, Philippines. Since the sample size was small, Philippine Genome Center noted that it didn’t know the extent of its presence in the Philippines yet.
“At least five laboratory experiments suggest that the mutation makes the virus more infectious, although only one of those studies has been peer-reviewed,” it said.
Meanwhile Malaysia reported at least four cases of the D614G variant. The strain was detected in clusters imported from India the Philippines.
Globally the virus has been accelerating like never before. World Health Organization says “young, healthy people are increasingly driving its spread.”
“Many are unaware they’re infected – with very mild symptoms or none at all. This can result in them unknowingly passing on the virus to others,” Dr. Takeshi Kasai said.