On Sunday Malaysia’s health ministry
said it had detected the now globally dominant D614G mutation of the coronavirus, warning in a post on Facebook that it was “10 times more
But an infectious diseases
expert says there is “no basis” to that figure.
The D614G mutation appeared
after the initial outbreak of Covid-19 in the Chinese city of Wuhan. And it’s
now seen in as many as 97% of samples around the world.
In July our heath reporter wrote about how growing numbers of
virologists believe this mutation has an evolutionary edge. But they said
there’s not enough evidence to show it’s “more transmissible” than other strains.
A July paper published by Cell Press also said it was “not clear”
whether this virus variation “increases transmissibility”.
the BBC on Monday, Dr Dale Fisher, a professor in
infectious diseases at the National University of Singapore, said: “There was
some laboratory evidence that patients with the D614G mutation secreted more
virus, which potentially could make it more infectious.
“But in countries where it’s
spread more quickly, clearly the controls haven’t been as good either, so you
can’t really extrapolate what’s a potential in the lab to what is seen in
countries with a poor response anyway,” said Dr Fisher, who is also chair of the
Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network for the WHO.
He says there is “no basis” to
the 10 times more infectious figure.
presumptuous to translate what we’ve seen in the lab to an epidemiological
For more updates on this story, see bbc.com.