US scientists released more than 5,000 genetic sequences of the coronavirus that have made it possible to study the continuous accumulation of mutations of the virus, including one that may be made more contagious, according to a study released Wednesday.
The document, published by The Washington Post and published on the Medrxiv health website, revealed that researchers at Houston Methodist Hospital have sequenced the 30,000-character genome of the coronavirus since last March, when the virus first appeared in the Houston metropolitan area (Texas), whose population is estimated at 7 million inhabitants.
In the study, which has not been reviewed by other scientists, they were collected 5,085 sequences, the Post detailed.
The investigation found that the virus spread in Houston in two waves: the first that affected the elderly and individuals with greater purchasing power, and a second that reached the younger people and the lower income neighborhoods, where many of its residents are Hispanic.
The researchers found that people affected by the variant had increased virus burden in the upper respiratory tract, which can be considered a potential factor for the strain to spread more effectively.
As the spread increased, the scientists found a number of mutations, many of which affected the protein at the tip of the bone. SARS-CoV-2, which allows the virus to enter cells.
Specifically, according to the journalistic version, one of the mutations changed amino acid 614 of “D & rdquor; (aspartic acid) to “G & rdquor; (glycine).
“Research suggests that this small change – affecting three identical amino acid chains – could improve the virus transmissibility& rdquor ;, detailed the newspaper, although it clarified that the new report did not find that the mutations “have made the virus more lethal or have changed the clinical results & rdquor ;.
James Musser, del Houston Methodist Hospital and author of the study, assured the Post that the virus has been “given many opportunities & rdquor ;, alluding to the widespread transmission in the country. However, Musser admitted that the scientific case is not closed.
The Post noted that in the UK a study based on 25,000 genomes, which also found evidence that this variant of the virus outperforms its competitors.