tech2 News StaffAug 18, 2020 10:15:12 IST
The novel Coronavirus keeps throwing punches our way and its most recent assault has been in Malaysia. The Asian country has detected a strain of the virus that is 10 times more infectious than the previous strains and the original Wuhan strain.
The Health chief Noor Hisham Abdullah, in a Facebook post on Sunday, 16 August, said that the Laboratory Medical Research Institute has detected three cases from a cluster in Sivagangga and another case is from a person returning from the Philippines.
The cluster in Sivagangga has a total of 45 cases and started when a restaurant owner returned from India, breached his 14-day home quarantine. The man has since been sentenced to five months in prison and fined.
The strain was found in preliminary tests and the follow-up tests will be conducted on other cases including the index cases of both clusters, Strait Times reported Abdullah saying.
According to a report by Reuters, the mutation has increased the number of "spikes" on the coronavirus which in turn significantly increases it ability to infect human cells. The researchers say that it is still unknown whether this small mutation affects the severity of symptoms of infected people or increases mortality.
According to a report by Bloomberg, the D614G mutation strain is the predominant variant in Europe and the US.
Abdullah also said that finding this mutation would mean that existing vaccine studies would remain incomplete as they might not be effective on this mutation. However, a paper published in Cell Press said the mutation is unlikely to have a major impact on the efficacy of vaccines currently being developed.
The health chief has warned that people need to be "aware and be more careful" as the virus can "spread easily if spread by the individual super spreader". People should follow previous health procedures like hand hygiene, wearing of masks in public places, crowded or enclosed space. They should also wear a mask when talking to others and maintain social distance when possible.
Malaysia has reported a total of 9,200 confirmed cases. Of these 8,859 people have recovered and 125 have died.
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