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Nevada Today

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Bio-TerrorismHealthNews and information

Scientist Find COVID-19 Virus Mutating

The COVID-19 virus is mutating, according to scientists working on a pipeline that tracks the virus in real-time.

An HIV database team at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), in collaboration with scientists from Duke University, developed an analysis pipeline for real-time tracking of the evolution of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike (S) protein in the COVID-19 pandemic.

To date, the team identified fourteen mutations in the Spike that are accumulating. Over time such modifications become an early warning system that reveals selective advantages in transmission or resistance to interventions.

In early February, mutation Spike D614G began spreading in Europe. And when introduced to new regions, it repeatedly and rapidly becomes the dominant form. The work revealed evidence that the mutation recombined with locally circulating strains, suggesting multiple strain infections. These findings have important implications for SARS-CoV-2 transmission, pathogenesis, and immune interventions.

The Duke team is working on a neutralizing antibody testing facility to experimentally resolve the mutations of interest experimentally.

The Los Alamos group provides reports, at roughly two-week intervals, to colleagues at Duke and others working on a new design and testing phases of the Spike by targeting vaccines and immunotherapeutic.

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Michael McGreer Mesquite, Nevada
Dr. Michael Manford McGreer is managing editor of and writes on issues that impact public policy.

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