• Coronavirus is mutating. And, one particular strain of mutation called D614G in the Spike protein region of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is worrying experts.
• As of May 2020, scientists across the world have identified over 200 genetic mutations in the SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19. Mutations are essentially small genetic changes.
• Viruses mutate naturally, and mutations do not translate into a more dangerous or virulent form of the existing virus.
• A new study focussing on mutations in the “Spike” protein that gives the virus its distinctive “crown-like” shape, has identified 14 mutations in the Spike. The research was done using a database called the Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID).
• According to the researchers, one particular mutation—identified as D614G—is of “urgent concern”. It began spreading in Europe in early February, and when introduced to new regions it rapidly becomes the dominant form.
Mains Paper 3: Science and Tech
Prelims level: D614G
Mains level: Details about the statistics of virus strains in India through new mutation