COVID-19 is mutating.

Viruses mutate. SARS-CoV-2 is the virus name for COVID-19, the disease. SARS-CoV-2 is an RNA virus. Mutations happen when the RNA replication process copies genes and makes mistakes in the copying process. Bits and pieces do not translate from one replication to the next the same.

The D614G variant or mutant of the SARS-CoV-2 is one of the dominant mutations being seen. The mutation is worrisome for many because the genetic change is reflected in the protein spike – the part of the virus that connects to a human cell. This is the primary infection path that leads to COVID-19.

Good news and bad news about this latest SARS-CoV-2 virus are that it is more infectious (bad news – up to nine times more infectious) than its previous mutation; and, it appears not to generate the more severe symptoms associated with COVID-19 (good news) according to the latest report in the Cell journal.

There is no guarantee that a mutation will make a virus more or less lethal or infectious. G614 is the current variant of SARS-CoV-2 that has taken over worldwide and is replacing the D614 variant.

Before March of this year, G614 represented about 10% of the SARS-CoV-2. Now, it exceeds 70% of SARS-CoV-2 around the world. It started in Europe and spread to North America and then to Asia.

The Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) has been tracking the dispersion of G614 throughout the world. The experiments that LANL has conducted shows the increase in the infection rate and the low slightly severity levels of the disease.

COVID-19 researchers use a common database for COVID-19. There are many thousands of gene sequences (around 63,000) that define SARS-CoV-2. The database is maintained and shared by the Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID).

We must remain vigilant to the spread of all diseases. Soon, as winter approaches, seasonal influenza will return. The World Health Organization recommends at least three feet for social distance. The United States chose six feet to give an extra measure of safety.

Face masks protect the wearer and others in near proximity. Inside protection is of paramount importance. Outside, breezes dissipate microscopic and visual particulates quickly. Washing hands often is always a good practice. Situational awareness of those around you, especially the elderly, is something to be attentive to when inside stores.

Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin –


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