Did a Mutation Help the Coronavirus Spread? More Evidence, but Lingering Questions – The New York Times

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For months, scientists have discussed whether a variant of the coronavirus that has actually come to predominate in much of the world did so partially because it is more transmissible than other viruses.On Thursday, a team of researchers reported brand-new proof that is likely to deepen the debate rather than settle it, professionals said; too numerous uncertainties stay, in a pandemic that alters shape by the day.The new report, posted by the journal Cell and led by investigators at Los Alamos National Laboratory, suggested that the variant did have such a benefit. Those distinctions are needed for higher transmission to occur in the real world, however barely sufficient; there is no proof that the D614G alternative makes individuals sicker.The new paper, led by Bette Korber, a theoretical biologist, provides proof in the kind of laboratory findings, tests of contaminated patients and a broad analytical analysis of the pandemic as the D614G alternative consistently took over in nations, cities and regions. “The consistency of this pattern was highly statistically substantial, suggesting that the G614 variant may have a physical fitness benefit,” the authors concluded.In an interview, Dr. Korber said that the three lines of evidence “all support the idea this is quite most likely to be a more transmissible virus” than other variants.

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