As if the deadly coronavirus wasn’t enough, Malaysia has detected a strain of the new coronavirus that’s been found to be 10 times more infectious than the original Wuhan strain. Alerting citizens, the country’s Health Ministry director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah said the community had to be more careful, after a D614G mutation of the novel coronavirus was detected. Also Read - Hit by Fresh Coronavirus Outbreak, New Zealand Postpones General Elections by 4 Weeks
What is D614G?
D614G is a mutation of Sars-Cov-2. D614G makes a small but effective change in the virus’s ‘Spike’ protein, which the virus uses to enter human cells.
Detection of D614G
As per a Bloomberg report, the mutation has been spotted in three cases from a cluster that apparently started when a restaurant owner and permanent resident returned to the country from India.
The man had reportedly breached the mandatory 14-day home quarantine and since then sentenced to five months in prison and fined. The strain was also found in another cluster involving people returning from the Philippines.
In a statement posted on his Facebook page on Sunday, Dr Noor Hisham said, “It is found to be 10 times easier to infect other individuals and easier to spread if spread by ‘super spreader’ individuals.”
”People need to be wary and take greater precautions because this strain has now been found in Malaysia. The people’s cooperation is very needed so that we can together break the chain of infection from any mutation,” he further said.
He added the D614G mutation was discovered by scientists in July and is likely to cause current vaccine research to be incomplete or ineffective towards this mutation.
However, he noted that the tests by the Institute of Medical Research, which discovered the presence of the mutated version, were preliminary and that follow-up tests were being conducted on other cases.
Is there need to worry?
This mutation has now become the predominant variant in Europe and US. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said that there is no evidence that the strain leads to more severe disease.
Experts also believe that there is no reason to sound the alarm just yet.
According to a paper in Cell, the mutation may not have a major impact on the efficacy of vaccines which are presently being developed.