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Health

Florida scientists discover that a mutation makes SARS-CoV-2 more effective

Miami / A team at the Florida Scripps Research Institute has found that a mild genetic mutation in the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus significantly increases its ability to infect cells, according to a statement from the institution.

Virologist Hyeryun Choe, lead author of the study, said they were able to determine in cell culture systems that “viruses with that mutation are much more contagious than those without it.”

What the D614G mutation does is increase up to 4 or 5 times the number or density of functional “spikes” existing on the viral surface and at the same time make them more flexible.

The spikes, which give the virus its crown appearance, are precisely what make it capable of infecting cells, targeting ACE2 cell receptors.

“Our data is very clear, the virus becomes much more stable with the mutation,” Choe said.

Circulation of the SARS-CoV-2 variant

According to the statement from the Scripps Research Institute, which is based in Jupiter (southeast Florida), the SARS-CoV-2 variant that circulated in the first outbreaks did not have the D614G mutation, which is now the dominant variant in much of the world.

According to Michael Farzan, research co-author and co-chair of the Scripps Department of Immunology and Microbiology, none of the SARS-CoV-2 sequences deposited in the GenBank database had the mutation.

In March it already appeared in one out of every 4 samples and in May in 70% of the samples, she said.

Choe and Farzan, who conducted their research on harmless viruses designed to produce key coronavirus proteins, caution that additional epidemiological studies are needed to determine whether what they have found of increased effectiveness in infecting cells through mutation also occurs in “The real world”.

Both scientists have studied coronaviruses for almost 20 years, since the first outbreak of SARS was recorded, and in 2003 they were the first to discover that SARS targeted cells’ ACE2 receptors, as SARS-CoV-2 does.

In addition to Choe and Farzan, scientists Lizhou Zhang, Cody Jackson, Huihui Mou, Amrita Ojha, Erumbi Rangarajan and Tina Izard, all from the Scripps Institute, also worked on this research supported by the National Health Center. (June 15, 2020, EFE / PracticaEspañol)

(Automatic translation)

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Question 1
Principalmente el texto habla...
A
de un instituto de investigación que se encuentra en EE.UU.
B
del primer estallido de SARS en el mundo.
C
de un descubrimiento relacionado con el SARS-CoV-2.
Question 2
En el texto se dice que...
A
esa mutación del SARS-CoV-2 no es tan contagiosa como el virus original.
B
los científicos desmienten que esa mutación infecte más rápido las células.
C
esa mutación del SARS-CoV-2 infecta las células más rápido.
Question 3
Según el texto...
A
ese virus utiliza las espigas para infectar las células.
B
las espigas de esta mutación de SARS-CoV-2 apenas son flexibles.
C
apenas se ha detectado esta mutación de SARS-CoV-2 en las muestras realizadas el mes pasado.
Question 4
Esos investigadores no creen que haga falta realizar estudios epidemológicos adicionales.
A
En absoluto.
B
Así es.
C
No se sabe.
Question 5
En el vídeo se dice que...
A
ese virus no afecta al sistema respiratorio.
B
ese virus utiliza esa cadena de ARN para replicarse cuando esté dentro de una célula.
C
ese virus no necesita células vivas para reproducirse.
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