A new study analyzing genomes of the novel coronavirus in over 15,000 infected patients across the world has found that mutations in the virus do not appear to increase its contagion. This study builds on an earlier study that described the diverse genetic mutations of the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2.
Scientists have been able to identify more than 6,822 mutations in the novel coronavirus, and the study team beamed their lenses on 31 of the most common and frequently-occurring mutations to see how they influence the rate of spread of the virus.
To test if the mutations increase the transmissibility of the virus, the researchers modeled the virus’ evolutionary tree and assessed if a given mutation became increasingly common within a given generation of the viruses in the evolutionary tree. The researchers found no evidence that this was the case.