The analysis of more than 5,300 coronavirus genomes from 62 countries shows that while the virus is fairly stable, some have gained mutations, including two genetic changes that alter the critical “spike protein” the virus uses to infect human cells…
The spike mutations are rare at the moment but Martin Hibberd, professor of emerging infectious diseases and a senior author on the study, said their emergence highlights the need for global surveillance of the virus so that more worrying changes are picked up fast.
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“This is exactly what we need to look out for,” Hibberd said. “People are making vaccines and other therapies against this spike protein because it seems a very good target. We need to keep an eye on it and make sure that any mutations don’t invalidate any of these approaches.”