The One Sure Sign You Have the Scary Coronavirus Mutation
This week it was revealed that there is a new form of coronavirus that has spread from Europe to the United States, and it is more contagious than the first. Now, the question on many of our minds is: how do we know if we are infected with it? According to experts, the answer is both simple and complicated.
According to a recent study published in the medical journal Cell, the only major difference between the new coronavirus and the old, is that the newer version is more likely to infect people. However, when it comes to symptoms and their severity, there doesn't seem to be a difference. All of the symptoms—including dry cough, shortness of breath, fever, fatigue—remain the same. According to experts, if you experience any of these symptoms, you are actually infected with the new version.
"It's Now the Dominant Form"
"It is now the dominant form infecting people," Erica Ollmann Saphire of the La Jolla Institute for Immunology and the Coronavirus Immunotherapy Consortium, who worked on the study, told CNN. "This is now the virus."
Saphire maintains that the new virus, which researchers have dubbed G614, is "fitter," but that it "doesn't look at first glance as if it is worse."
"Our global tracking data show that the G614 variant in Spike has spread faster than D614," theoretical biologist Bette Korber of Los Alamos National Laboratory and colleagues wrote in their report. "We interpret this to mean that the virus is likely to be more infectious. Interestingly, we did not find evidence of G614 impact on disease severity."
Researchers claim it has almost completely replaced the initial strain. The mutation affects the spike protein—the structure the virus uses to get into the cells it infects. Researchers are now attempting to learn if this new strain can be controlled by a vaccine.
Three to Nine Times More Infectious
Researchers maintain that the new version multiplies much faster in the upper respiratory tract, making it three to nine times more infectious. However, symptoms and severity of the two remain the same.
While these findings suggest that this mutated form of the virus is more readily transmitted than the original form, the same methods of prevention are suggested by the study authors. "Whether or not that conclusion is ultimately confirmed, it highlights the value of what were already good ideas: to wear masks and to maintain social distancing," Korber said in a statement. So wear your face mask when around people you don't shelter with, practice social distancing, wash your hands frequently, monitor your health, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these Things You Should Never Do During the Coronavirus Pandemic.