Friday, 27 March 2020

SARS-CoV-2 Mutation worldwide in pictures


 How various strains spread.

The family tree by geographic location.

And where on the genome the mutations are.

Mutation accumulation in SARS-CoV-2 strains as of 26Mar20 from
The picture above shows the length of the genome (0 to 29,000 bases) and the bars above show how many mutations have been detected at a given nucleotide. The long, color coded bars underneath represent the protein produced by that section of the virus.

Now, the analysis, by someone who knows their onions.

Overall, we’re seeing what you would hope to see in a virus, a lot of broad, non-specific mutation locations. This means there is no particular pressure on the virus to change an aspect of its proteins rapidly.

Overall, we’re looking at wonderful news for people developing treatments and vaccines. While this virus is mutating, it’s not showing anything dangerous or anything that can prevent treatments from working in the near future. The virus will continue to spread, but we’ll continue to monitor it; as the virus accumulates more isolated differences, we’ll even be able to tell where a case was from based on its unique sequence.

There is concern about the ability of this disease to reinfect someone after they recover from an initial bout of COVID-19. I am no virologist and can’t say it won’t happen in the future, but for now it looks like that isn’t possible. While there have been some reports of reinfection in people, it could be that they had false negative test results or just hadn’t quite recovered as much as they thought they had, leading people to be readmitted to the hospital. A trial performed in monkeys showed no signs of a second infection after the monkey was initially exposed, which is great news for us.

 See for a discussion on these experiments.

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