A mutant version of a new type of coronavirus, D614G, which is becoming the most common worldwide, was also found in the Philippines. This strain of genetics was isolated from samples taken from patients in Quezon city. Reported by the Philippine genome center.
Mutations appear in the genomes of cells and viruses constantly and mostly spontaneously. Because of them, the functioning of both individual processes and the entire body as a whole can change. Epidemiologists constantly monitor mutations in the genome of viruses so that they do not affect the effect of drugs and vaccines.
This is especially true for the COVID-19 pandemic. The pathogen of this disease, the SARS-CoV-2 virus, is helped to join healthy cells by the spiked protein of its shell (also called S-protein or spike protein). This protein connects to ACE2 receptors, which allows the virus to enter the cell. Scientists monitor mutations in the spiny protein because they can increase the rate of spread of the disease in the human population or affect the infection with the coronavirus and the course of the disease differently.
Data from the GISAID project (Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data) shows that one of the most common mutations in the spiked coronavirus protein was the d614g variant. Data from studies on cell cultures (i.e. outside the human or animal body) show that a virus with this mutation can spread better than its predecessor with the d614 variant.
In a recent study, Filipino geneticists first discovered the d614g mutation in samples from Quezon city. All of them were collected in June of this year. Scientists clarify that this can not be concluded that this mutation is spread throughout the country, we are still only talking about local cases. However, given the wide geographical distribution of G614, it is necessary to constantly monitor the situation, experts say.