Mutated coronavirus strain spreads beyond the United States to Southeast Asia

Mutated coronavirus strain spreads beyond the United States to Southeast Asia
U.S. Army 1st Lt. Colton Whitehouse, critical care nurse from Urban Augmentation Medical Task Force – 627, works to provide medical care to a COVID-19 patient alongside Baptist Hospital medical staff, in San Antonio, Texas, July 10, 2020. The UAMTF is comprised of Soldiers with various medical specialties from the 627th Hospital Center, Fort Carson, Colo., and deployed to support San Antonio hospitals during the COVID-19 response. U.S. Northern Command, through U.S. Army North, is providing military support to states in need. (U.S. Army photo illustration by Luis A. Deya) (Photo cropped due to patient privacy sensitivity)

An infectious strain of the novel coronavirus that is believed to be more infectious than the original strain of SARS-COV-2 has spread beyond the United States and Europe, according to a new report in Bloomberg News. The strain has now been detected in Southeast Asia.

“The mutation called D614G was found in at least three of the 45 cases in a cluster that started from a restaurant owner returning from India and breaching his 14-day home quarantine,” Bloomberg News reported. “The man has since been sentenced to five months in prison and fined. The strain was also found in another cluster involving people returning from the Philippines.”

The strain is the predominant variant found in Europe and the United States.

Malaysia’s Director-General of Health Noor Hisham Abdullah said in a Facebook post that the strain is 10 times more infectious. “The people’s cooperation is very needed so that we can together break the chain of infection from any mutation.”

But Benjamin Cowling, head of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of Hong Kong, told Bloomberg that there is not much evidence that the strain is more infectious. The strain “might be a little bit more contagious. We haven’t yet got enough evidence to evaluate that, but there’s no evidence that it’s a lot more contagious,” he said.

Read the full report from Bloomberg News.

(Correction: This article has been updated to note that D614G is the dominant strain of the coronavirus in the United States.)

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