A mutation of coronavirus has been found in south Asia that’s more infectious than Covid-19.
The Jakarta-based Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology has confirmed the ‘infectious but milder’ D614G mutation of the virus has been found in genome sequencing data from samples collected.
Indonesia has seen a surge in cases of Covid with 2,858 new infections on Sunday, below the previous day’s record 3,308 but above the past month’s daily average, reports the Mirror.
Its total number of cases was 172,053, with 7,343 Covid-19 fatalities.
Institute deputy director Herawati Sudoyo said more study is required to determine whether D614G was behind the recent rise in cases.
The strain was identified in February and has been circulating in Europe and the Americas, and has also been found in neighbouring Singapore and Malaysia, according to the World Health Organization.
It is said to be 10 times more infectious than others but appears to be less deadly.
Paul Tambyah, president elect of the International Society of Infectious Diseases in the US, said there is evidence that the new strain coincides with a drop in death rates which suggests it is less lethal.
He said most viruses tend to become less severe as they mutate.
“Maybe that’s a good thing to have a virus that is more infectious but less deadly,” he said.
“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.”
Last month Professor Nick Loman, who is part of the Covid-19 Genomics Consortium, said D614G is the most dominant in the world and it is spreading quicker in the UK than the original strain from Wuhan in China.
Prof Loman, who is based at the University of Birmingham, also said D614G appears not to be as deadly.