None of the mutations of the novel coronavirus appear to increase its ability to spread from person-to-person, a new study suggests.
Researchers found that, among 31 strains that circulated independently in cities or counties, no strain had a higher risk of transmission compared to the other.
Findings showed that some of the most common mutations are neutral, and some were even mildly harmful to the virus.
Some of the most common mutations seem to have been caused by our immune system rather than the virus adapting to better infect human hosts, according to the team from University College London (UCL) in the UK.
‘As a growing number of mutations have been documented, scientists are rapidly trying to find out if any of them could make the virus more infectious or deadly. It is vital to understand such changes as early as possible,’ said lead author Dr. Francois Balloux, director of the UCL Genetics Institute.
So far, nearly 7,000 mutations of the virus, known as SARS-Cov-2, have been identified by global researchers.
Of that number, nearly 300 have shown the ability to occur repeatedly and independently in cities and countries.