Coronavirus Pandemic

Coronavirus still mutating, becoming more contagious: Study

Web report/Washington
Filed on September 25, 2020 | Last updated on September 25, 2020 at 06.31 am
coronavirus, covid-19, mutating, contagious, us study

(AFP file)

US expert claims the virus may continue to mutate even after a vaccine is found.

The Covid-19 virus is still mutating, with some experts claiming it is becoming more contagious as a result, according to new research.

A new US study assessed 5,000 genetic sequences of the virus, which has continued to mutate as it has surged through the population.

According to a Washington Post report, the study did not discover that mutations of the virus have made it more damaging or altered its effects, even as it may be becoming more easier to contract. The report stressed that public health experts admit all viruses have mutations, which are mostly insignificant.

David Morens, a virologist at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that the new study should not be over-analysed, but added that the virus could be responding to public health measures such as social distancing.

"All those things are barriers to transmissibility, or contagion, but as the virus becomes more contagious it statistically is better at getting around those barriers," he said.

According to the UK's The Guardian, Morens said that this could imply that the virus might continue to mutate even after a vaccine is available, meaning the vaccine will have to be adapted - just as the flu vaccine is altered each year.

The United States is the worst-hit country with 201,910 deaths from 6,934,233 cases. At least 2,670,256 people have been declared recovered.

Twenty states have experienced over 5 per cent rises in their Covid-19 cases over the last two weeks, according to Johns Hopkins University figures.

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