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Mon Jun 29, 2020, 11:45 AM

This coronavirus mutation has taken over the world. Scientists are trying to understand why.

Source: Washington Post

When the first coronavirus cases in Chicago appeared in January, they bore the same genetic signatures as a germ that emerged in China weeks before.

But as Egon Ozer, an infectious-disease specialist at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, examined the genetic structure of virus samples from local patients, he noticed something different.

A change in the virus was appearing again and again. This mutation, associated with outbreaks in Europe and New York, eventually took over the city. By May, it was found in 95 percent of all the genomes Ozer sequenced.

At a glance, the mutation seemed trivial. About 1,300 amino acids serve as building blocks for a protein on the surface of the virus. In the mutant virus, the genetic instructions for just one of those amino acids — number 614 — switched in the new variant from a “D” (shorthand for aspartic acid) to a “G” (short for glycine).

But the location was significant, because the switch occurred in the part of the genome that codes for the all-important “spike protein” — the protruding structure that gives the coronavirus its crownlike profile and allows it to enter human cells the way a burglar picks a lock.


And its ubiquity is undeniable. Of the approximately 50,000 genomes of the new virus that researchers worldwide have uploaded to a shared database, about 70 percent carry the mutation, officially designated D614G but known more familiarly to scientists as “G.”



Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/science/2020/06/29/coronavirus-mutation-science/?arc404=true

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Reply This coronavirus mutation has taken over the world. Scientists are trying to understand why. (Original post)
usaf-vet Monday OP
Laelth Monday #1
cstanleytech Monday #5
Rainbow Droid Tuesday #42
groundloop Monday #15
Ligyron Monday #40
Red Pest Monday #26
Roc2020 Monday #2
NurseJackie Monday #3
Traildogbob Monday #17
Traildogbob Monday #18
Ponietz Monday #21
NurseJackie Monday #22
Steelrolled Monday #37
Ligyron Monday #41
jimlup Tuesday #45
a la izquierda Tuesday #44
NurseJackie Tuesday #46
Igel Tuesday #47
ananda Monday #4
Eyeball_Kid Monday #11
kiri Monday #14
marie999 Monday #33
Dan Tuesday #43
Sugarcoated Monday #35
Steelrolled Monday #38
wnylib Monday #24
hkp11 Monday #20
wnylib Monday #25
louis-t Monday #6
Laelth Monday #10
wnylib Monday #27
dalton99a Monday #7
Duppers Monday #31
keithbvadu2 Monday #8
Steelrolled Monday #39
Jedi Guy Tuesday #48
Canoe52 Monday #9
bronxiteforever Monday #12
2naSalit Monday #13
Hekate Monday #16
roamer65 Monday #19
wnylib Monday #29
Duppers Monday #30
roamer65 Monday #34
Duppers Monday #36
McKim Monday #23
matt819 Monday #28
wnylib Monday #32

Response to usaf-vet (Original post)

Mon Jun 29, 2020, 11:51 AM

1. It makes sense if the new mutant variant is less deadly.

For a virus to propagate, it needs its host to live (and, thereby, spread the virus). If the virus kills its host, the chances of the virus spreading are greatly diminished.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #1)

Mon Jun 29, 2020, 12:09 PM

5. Slight correction but viruses cannot live as they are only molecules.

Edit: I should have said molecules and other things like proteins and amino acids as well as some other odds and ends.
But anyway what they can do is recombine in new ways and those new ways can be more successful at replicating themselves inside a host which is why ones that do not kill the host do better at replicating themselves longer.

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Response to cstanleytech (Reply #5)

Tue Jun 30, 2020, 12:14 AM

42. They said the virus needs its host to (remain) alive to spread, not that viruses are alive.

Though I can see why you thought they were saying that if you merely skimmed the post.

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Response to Laelth (Reply #1)

Mon Jun 29, 2020, 01:01 PM

15. The virus doesn't need us to live very long, only long enough to spread it to others

Even ebola, which of course is quite deadly, will continue its rampage so long as there are people who don't take precautions and allow it spread.

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Response to groundloop (Reply #15)

Mon Jun 29, 2020, 07:05 PM

40. Exactly.

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Response to Laelth (Reply #1)

Mon Jun 29, 2020, 02:26 PM

26. The mutation appears to affect infectivity

or better put, the ability to bind to ACE-2 (the receptor protein) and allow entry into the host cell. As I recall from reading the original paper on this, the occurrence of severe illness and death seems to be unaffected. However, the density of virions (viral particles) was increased in those infected with the mutant strain. This would certainly allow for viruses containing this mutation to become dominant - faster to infect will allow those viruses to spread a bit faster. Evolution by selection for strains that reproduce faster. This will work really well when populations are growing exponentially and, therefore, when the population of those people who are infected are increasing rapidly - like at the beginning of the pandemic and now in some areas of the US.

Questions: what other mutations are becoming more prevalent in the populations in Florida, Texas, California, etc.? How will those mutations affect virulence?

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Response to usaf-vet (Original post)

Mon Jun 29, 2020, 11:51 AM

2. We are still at the beginning of the beginning

this virus is dangerously insidious and complicated. It will take a worldwide focus effort to get this virus under control. A Mission impossible endeavor but almost inevitable. or else hundreds of millions will die.

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Response to usaf-vet (Original post)

Mon Jun 29, 2020, 11:51 AM

3. This is frightening. I know I've probably watched far too many "end of the world" movies...

This is frightening. I know I've probably watched far too many "end of the world" movies, and other films with dystopian futures (and that's probably affecting me too) but I wonder if this is the beginning of the end.

I'm now having dreams about it. Horrible dreams that wake me up.

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Response to NurseJackie (Reply #3)

Mon Jun 29, 2020, 01:17 PM

17. Parallels NurseJackie

All those end of time movies have politicians and rich people denying everything, and have a safe haven to run to while we die. But, they all have hero’s that save the world. That, is the science Fiction part, the good ending. The last 3 years show us hero’s are far and few between. The young multiracial people may be that hero. Get loud, get outraged, vote and be a part of the solution. Their fight is not only racism, it’s the fight for their planet. End GOP anti science and the real science fiction, religious control of our policies to fight the monsters out there. Those monsters are gonna be fierce for the next six months fighting to stay alive and keep control. GOP is as deadly as any virus, and plan to ride on that coat tail to keep power. The scary parallel is the GOP/Virus desperation to survive, and killing most of us is their quest to exist.

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Response to Traildogbob (Reply #17)

Mon Jun 29, 2020, 01:24 PM

18. Oh,

And notice all the mutations the GOP have been doing, Fiscal conservatives, morals, party of pro life, foreign enemies and patriotism, working people, party of law and constitution. I could go on and on. Just the mutations under trump, GOD, from Lincoln to pro confederate slavery is good, any color should be exterminated. May be wrong but I think republicans landed on beaches as Anti fascist. It’s a viral mutant party, the only vaccine is vote.

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Response to Traildogbob (Reply #18)

Mon Jun 29, 2020, 01:59 PM

21. Good point

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Response to Traildogbob (Reply #18)

Mon Jun 29, 2020, 02:00 PM

22. Thanks... I'll definitely be voting.

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Response to NurseJackie (Reply #3)

Mon Jun 29, 2020, 04:40 PM

37. Humans have been around a long long time, and our ancestors before that, and

we have encountered many nasty viruses along the way, but apparently not the "end of the world" virus yet. So I'm not too worried.

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Response to Steelrolled (Reply #37)

Mon Jun 29, 2020, 07:26 PM

41. Yeah, they'll never wipe us all out.

Young one's who live will pass on resistance in their genes and the virus itself will change into something less deadly hopefully.

Plus we'll have a vaccine at some point.

Problem is: unlike the neolithic humans, we inhabit a world way more crowded with people who have the means to travel all over the planet bringing the virus with them. When the virus was contained in a smaller areas with less hosts, would it not spread more slowly thus giving populations a chance to adapt and for it to possibly mutate to a form less deadly?

IDK.

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Response to Steelrolled (Reply #37)

Tue Jun 30, 2020, 04:44 AM

45. Yes, nor am I but...

There are currently over 7 billion of us on the planet. So, at least 1 in 15 of the people who ever lived are alive today. Also, as cited in this thread we have unprecedented mobility. The virus travels around the planet in its various human hosts in a matter of weeks or even days.

I seriously doubt that this virus can end the species. It doesn't have a high enough fatality rate. But, we should take note that a similar but slightly more lethal virus could make real lasting dents in our society and economy.

I don't know how much is known about virus evolution. We are learning on the fly. As one health official said, we are building the airplane mid-flight.

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Response to NurseJackie (Reply #3)

Tue Jun 30, 2020, 04:11 AM

44. I'm a historian, not an epidemiologist.

It’s not the end of human to, but the virus may well have long term, economic and social repercussions that change society as we know it.
It’ll be ok long term.

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Response to a la izquierda (Reply #44)

Tue Jun 30, 2020, 06:58 AM

46. Thanks...

... I know that (statistically speaking) I probably won't more than another 15-20 years (if I'm lucky) but I do worry about what things will be like for my children and my grandchildren (and their children long after I'm gone.) Obviously, I'm not an historian... but my fears are based a lot on the history that I do know, that I have read, and some that I've experienced. It may not be the "end of days" as they appear to me in my nightmares, but I think things will be very difficult for generations ahead.

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Response to NurseJackie (Reply #3)

Tue Jun 30, 2020, 12:57 PM

47. The death rate is coming in under 1%.

If all 7.5 billion of us caught it, it would wipe us out so there'd only be more than 7.4 billion of us left.

*That* number is more likely to cause the end of the world than the virus.

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Response to usaf-vet (Original post)

Mon Jun 29, 2020, 11:54 AM

4. OK, I managed to read the whole article.

This is very interesting. If they can develop a vaccine
fast enough, it will work on this mutation. If not, the
virus could mutate again and that would be a problem,
especially making immunity an issue. IOW, people
could get infected a second time.

These researchers do appear to be on it. I just hope
we can get a vaccine soon!

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Response to ananda (Reply #4)

Mon Jun 29, 2020, 12:35 PM

11. That depends on WHAT PART of the virus is neutered by a vaccine.

The part that's mutating may be irrelevant to the application of a vaccine. We just don't know.

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Response to Eyeball_Kid (Reply #11)

Mon Jun 29, 2020, 12:57 PM

14. consider the RW who refuse any vaccine

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/3860295/posts
Fauci says COVID-19 vaccine unlikely to bring sufficient herd immunity with many Americans saying they won’t get vaccinated.
Fauci says he would “settle” for a COVID-19 vaccine that’s 70% to 75% effective, but that this incomplete protection, coupled with the fact that many Americans say they won’t get a coronavirus vaccine, makes it “unlikely” that the US will achieve sufficient levels of immunity to quell the outbreak.
with government support, three coronavirus vaccines are expected to be studied in large-scale clinical trials in the next three months.

“The best we’ve ever done is measles, which is 97 to 98 percent effective,” said Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “That would be wonderful if we get there. I don’t think we will. I would settle for [a] 70, 75% effective vaccine.”

A CNN poll last month found one-third of Americans said they would not try to get vaccinated against COVID, even if the vaccine is widely available and low cost.

In an interview Friday, CNN asked Fauci whether a vaccine with 70% to 75% efficacy taken by only two-thirds of the population would provide herd immunity to the coronavirus.

“No — unlikely,” he answered.

post: " It is truly astounding how badly we were had by this scam.

They are also evolution deniers.

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Response to kiri (Reply #14)

Mon Jun 29, 2020, 03:01 PM

33. Even at 75% and 75%, that is only 186,000,000.

That leaves 145,000,000 who can still get the virus.

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Response to marie999 (Reply #33)

Tue Jun 30, 2020, 01:06 AM

43. Interesting math....

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Response to kiri (Reply #14)

Mon Jun 29, 2020, 04:27 PM

35. If I was polled my answer would depend

on who is running the country

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Response to kiri (Reply #14)

Mon Jun 29, 2020, 04:43 PM

38. I've believe I've read posts here on DU

from people who said they would not trust the vaccine. But I've been around awhile, and there is a big difference between what people say and what they do. For me, it all started in about the 5th grade, and hasn't stopped.

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Response to Eyeball_Kid (Reply #11)

Mon Jun 29, 2020, 02:22 PM

24. The article says that the behaviors

of the original "D" form and the mutated "G" form indicate that a vaccine based on the D form would work on the G mutation as well.

But that might not be true for future mutations. For now, what it means is that researchers who started working early on the original form do not have to start over again from square one to deal with the mutation.

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Response to ananda (Reply #4)

Mon Jun 29, 2020, 01:43 PM

20. I read that the vaccines

will only provide immunity for a couple of months or so, like the flu vaccine. Like the flu shots, people will need to revaccinate to have temporary immunity.

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Response to hkp11 (Reply #20)

Mon Jun 29, 2020, 02:26 PM

25. Nobody knows for sure. That is

one possibility being considered, but it is not definite.

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Response to usaf-vet (Original post)

Mon Jun 29, 2020, 12:11 PM

6. Starting to hear that the antibodies in someone who recovers

don't stay active very long. Much like a cold, you can get infected over and over. Very troubling.

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Response to louis-t (Reply #6)

Mon Jun 29, 2020, 12:27 PM

10. I have seen two studies that say the same.

It’s a coronavirus—just like the common cold, except that this one is particularly vicious. Just like the common cold, there’s no vaccine for it because it mutates like crazy, and, like the common cold, you can catch it repeatedly. Most common colds are rhinoviruses, but the same rules apply. There’s no cure for this virus. Eventually, the weaker strains will become dominant, and then it will be less deadly, but I am not pinning my hopes on a vaccine.

-Laelth

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Response to louis-t (Reply #6)

Mon Jun 29, 2020, 02:29 PM

27. I wonder if the repeated infections

are due to the first one being caused by one form and a later one by a mutation.

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Response to usaf-vet (Original post)

Mon Jun 29, 2020, 12:15 PM

7. Kick






The mutation’s success might also be a “founder effect,” she said. Arriving in a place like Northern Italy — where the vast majority of sequenced infections are caused by the G variant — it found easy purchase in an older and largely unprepared population, which then unwittingly spread it far and wide.

“I think that slowly we’re beginning to come to a consensus,” said Judd Hultquist, a virologist at Northwestern University.

Solving the mystery of the D614G mutation won’t make much of a difference in the short term, Andersen said. “We were unable to deal with D,” he said. “If G transmits even better, we’re going to be unable to deal with that one.”

But it’s still essential to understand how the genome influences the behavior of the virus, scientists say. Identifying emerging mutations allows researchers to track their spread. Knowing what genes affect how the virus transmits enables public health officials to tailor their efforts to contain it. Once therapeutics and vaccines are distributed on a large scale, having a baseline understanding of the genome will help pinpoint when drug resistance starts to evolve.

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Response to dalton99a (Reply #7)

Mon Jun 29, 2020, 02:41 PM

31. Doesn't this mean creating a vaccine for each variant?

Last edited Mon Jun 29, 2020, 03:25 PM - Edit history (1)

And how many variants can there be as the virus keeps evolving? Thousands?

Excuse my ignorance here.

This keeps getting scarier. Masks, distancing, doing business different seems to be permanent fixtures of our future.


Edit to add: Test, trace, isolate until this virus is eliminated - this seems to be our only solution, no?

Future generations will call CoVid "The Plague."

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Response to usaf-vet (Original post)

Mon Jun 29, 2020, 12:19 PM

8. These germs, viruses, and bacteria are very adaptable to change.

These germs, viruses, and bacteria are very adaptable to change.

from Jurassic Park: 'life will find a way.'

So many infectious diseases experts

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Response to keithbvadu2 (Reply #8)

Mon Jun 29, 2020, 04:47 PM

39. So true

I always marvel at how many experts of every type I find on social media, DU included.

There was an old cartoon very similar to this one, where the guy is telling his wife, as he types away, that he as to stay up because someone is wrong on the Internet. Yes, I guess that is all of us at one time or another.

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Response to Steelrolled (Reply #39)

Tue Jun 30, 2020, 03:48 PM

48. One of my personal favorites...

"Do you think someone would just go on the Internet and tell lies?"

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Response to usaf-vet (Original post)

Mon Jun 29, 2020, 12:19 PM

9. KnR!

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Response to usaf-vet (Original post)

Mon Jun 29, 2020, 12:39 PM

12. Kick and recommend.

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Response to usaf-vet (Original post)

Mon Jun 29, 2020, 12:55 PM

13. K&R

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Response to usaf-vet (Original post)

Mon Jun 29, 2020, 01:03 PM

16. KnR

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Response to usaf-vet (Original post)

Mon Jun 29, 2020, 01:37 PM

19. You are seeing natural selection at work.

The change more than likely enhances the binding to the human cell’s ACE2 receptor.

The virus is adapting to its new hosts.

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Response to roamer65 (Reply #19)

Mon Jun 29, 2020, 02:31 PM

29. Yep. Smart-assed little beasts.

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Response to roamer65 (Reply #19)

Mon Jun 29, 2020, 02:32 PM

30. If thousands of adaptations are possible,

Will this not make a vaccine(s) more improbable?

We may as well adapt to masks and distancing for the next coming decades and learn how to run a stable economy in these circumstances.

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Response to Duppers (Reply #30)

Mon Jun 29, 2020, 03:30 PM

34. Maybe.

But there is only so much the virus can mutate yet stay compatible with our ACE2 receptors.

Monoclonal antibody therapy can change faster than a vaccine can.

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Response to roamer65 (Reply #34)

Mon Jun 29, 2020, 04:31 PM

36. An AIDS vaccine has been in the works

For yrs with no viable results - yet.

This fact has muted my hopes of getting one for CoVid.

"Monoclonal antibody therapy can change faster than a vaccine can." I'm happy there is that tool in fighting this plague.


And we do have testing (few problems reported there), tracing, and isolating. And masks, of course.

More bad news:
MSNews just reported that half the country's work force is now unemployed.

Sigh. 😣😢


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Response to usaf-vet (Original post)

Mon Jun 29, 2020, 02:15 PM

23. Really Angry!!!!!

I am really angry. My husband and I have sheltered since March 7th and we were planning on taking a road trip to see our family. But now that cases are rising due to our misleadership, we have to forego a family visit until next summer because our daughter is a doctor and our granddaughter will be in school and could expose us to COVID. So now, thanks to people who refuse to wear masks and to governors who blindly followed Trump’s fantasies, we will miss out on seeing our only family. Also we felt very insecure about being in the stock market and withdrew with some losses. So now we have to continue to shelter and can’t travel! These “leaders” meanwhile are making big money and funneling our tax dolllars to their friends.

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Response to usaf-vet (Original post)

Mon Jun 29, 2020, 02:30 PM

28. This is one of the kinds of science-y articles

we all come across where all the words are in English but I don't understand WTF they're talking about.

We like in one heck of a universe. There are scientists who study galaxies that are hundreds of millions of light years away and talk about fast radio bursts. And there are scientists who can map the genome of something so infinitesimally small as a virus. I know I must sound pretty stupid, but the mind boggles.

Just thought that needed to be said.

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Response to matt819 (Reply #28)

Mon Jun 29, 2020, 02:41 PM

32. Huge awesome universe(s)

with zillions of things to study and learn about.

We're one small part of a huge, greater whole, able to understand only the parts we devote ourselves to studying. And our understanding continually changes as we learn more and correct previous misunderstandings or partial understandings.

Remarkable that we have learned as much as we have, yet it is still so little compared to what we don't know.

Enough to make a person dizzy thinking about it, isn't it?

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