What is the D614G Mutation in COVID-19 ?
What is the D614G mutation in coronavirus?
WHY IN NEWS:
The mutation was found in 10% of 997 global genome sequences before March 1, 67% of sequences between March 1 and March 31 and 78% of the sequences between April 1 and May 18.
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Health: Diseases : Science
For PRELIMS understand the cell structure of Coronavirus (UPSC never asks controversial question). Yes ! But as an aspirant your portion covers Science and cells from class 7th NCERT itself .
This prompts us to guide you with this article . Note down how the cell functions and keep your notes updated.
D614G MUTATION IN COVID-19
WHAT IS THE D614G MUTATION?
- When the virus enters an individual’s body, it aims at creating copies of itself.
- In this case, the virus replaced the aspartic acid (D) in the 614th position of the amino acid with glycine (G).
- Hence the mutation is called the D614G.
- This mutated form of the virus was first identified in China and then in Europe.
- Later it spread to other countries like the U.S. and Canada and was eventually reported in India.
HOW IS THIS MUTATION DIFFERENT?
- The D614G mutation is situated in the spike protein of the virus.
- The spike protein looks like a massive ‘trimer’ assembly with three protein chains.
- The sub-unit S1 is the one that attaches to the host cells — Human ACE2 receptor.
- The S2 sub-unit mediates the fusion of the viral and human membranes.
- The D614G mutation is present in the sub-unit S1 of the protein and is also close to the S2 sub-unit.
- Therefore, it has an impact on the human cell’s interactions with both S1 and S2.
- Thereby making it more successful in entering a human body than its predecessors.
WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF THE MUTATION?
- The D614G show increased infectivity , greater ability at attaching itself to the cell walls inside an individual’s nose and throat, Thereby increasing the viral load.
- The patients seem to be exhibiting variable reactions to it depending upon their genetic constitution, age, exposure to other diseases etc.
- Researchers are still pondering over the effects of this mutation.
HOW PREVALENT IS IT IN INDIA?
- The D614G mutation is the defining mutation for clade A2 of the virus, is indeed, quite prevalent in India.
- Since then, D614G mutation’s ‘relative abundance’ has increased over time to 70% and above.
CAN THIS MUTATION IMPACT VACCINE RESEARCH?
- A paper in the journal, Nature, concluded that this particular mutation may not reduce the ability of vaccines in clinical trials to protect against COVID-19 .
- The therapeutic antibodies should be tested against the circulating variant of the virus before clinical development.
- This could result in a media frenzy and potentially undermine public confidence in vaccines.
SOURCES: THE HINDU | What is the D614G Mutation in COVID-19 ?