While every country is fighting together in the coronavirus pandemic along with their doctors and scientists, who are scrambling to find treatment and drugs that can save lives, Malaysia has identified a new strain of coronavirus.
A mutation of the deadly coronavirus that is far more infectious has been detected from two COVID-19 clusters in Malaysia, according to health authorities.
“Recent results received from the Laboratory Medical Research Institute (IMR): as suspected D614G type mutation has been spotted from COVID-19 virus isolation test for three cases from Cluster PUI Sivagangga (close contact to index case) and also a case from Cluster Ulu Tiram (i.e. individual from the Philippines),” Noor Hisham Abdullah, health chief said in a Facebook post on Sunday.
Dr Hisham said so far these two clusters have been found to be quite controlled by the results of various fast-paced public health control actions in the field.
“This test is an early test and there are several follow-up tests in progress to test several other cases, including index cases for both these clusters. So, this means that people need to be aware and be more careful because the COVID-19 virus with this D614G mutation has been proven to be detected in Malaysia,” said Dr. Hisham.
Paul Tambyah, the senior consultant at the National University of Singapore and president-elect of the International Society of Infectious Diseases, said evidence suggests the proliferation of the D614G mutation in some parts of the world has coincided with a drop in death rates, suggesting it is less lethal.
An increasingly common mutation of the coronavirus found in Europe, North America, and parts of Asia may be more infectious but appears less deadly, according to a prominent infectious disease doctor.
“Maybe that’s a good thing to have a virus that is more infectious but less deadly,” Tambyah told Reuters.
Tambyah said most viruses tend to become less virulent as they mutate. “It is in the virus’ interest to infect more people but not to kill them because a virus depends on the host for food and for shelter,” he said.