Before, the “spike” would snap off normally as it tried to bind to receptors in people’s airways that give it access to the rest of the body.
Experts at The Scripps Research Institute said the “spike protein” – called such because of it’s shape – had mutated in just a matter of months and doesn’t break apart as often while inside the body.
The new coronavirus strain spreading arounf is estimated to be 10 times more infectious than when it first appeared, according to scientists at The Scripps Research
Because of this, the virus is estimated to be 10 times more infectious than when it first jumped to humans in China at the end of the year.
A strain of the coronavirus that has spread across Europe is more infectious than it was in January, a new study has found.
But, now it is more resilient.
Dr Hyeryun Choe, who lead the study, told the Washington Post that the mutation appeared to compensate for the weakness of the spike protein in the past.
In May, it was found this was the dominant strain in patients across the UK, US, Canada and Italy.
The new strain – called G614, compared to D614 – has had a tiny change made to it, but scientists were not sure when this first happened.
Dr Choe’s study continued: “An interesting question is why viruses carrying the more stable SG614 appear to be more transmissible without resulting in a major observable difference in disease severity.
She said the virus attaches itself to an ACE-2 receptor inside a person’s airways before they get into the blood and multiply rapidly, destroying cells around them and making the host unwell.
The study said the strain was first found in Germany in February and was now the most common strain that could be found in patients worldwide.
“It is possible that higher levels of fictional S protein observed with SG614 increase the chance of host-to-host transmission, but that other factors limit the rate and efficiency of intra-host replication.”
Dr Choe’s findings come as a new flu virus with “pandemic potential” was found in China – the country that was ground zero for Covid-19.
It’s similar to the swine flu of 2009, and researchers say it’s one to keep an eye on even as the world struggles to bring the current Covid-19 pandemic under control.
They have discovered evidence of it infecting people working in abattoirs and other swine facilities in China.
Scientists have identified a strain of influenza that has recently emerged among pigs called G4 EA H1N1.