A mutation of the coronavirus that is far more infectious than the original Wuhan strain has been detected in Malaysia, the health authorities said on August 16. 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 person has been penalised and sentenced to five months in prison. There are several follow-up tests in progress to for many other cases.
The Malaysian Institute for Medical Research has detected a D614G type mutation as a result of isolation and culture tests on three cases from the Sivagangga patient-under-investigation (PUI) Cluster and one case from the Ulu Tiram Cluster.
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.
Explaining the matter, he said, the D614G mutation was discovered by scientists in July 2020 and it is likely to result in the study on existing vaccine to be incomplete or ineffective against the mutation.
Although the virus mutation has become the predominant variant in Europe and the U.S., the World Health Organization (WHO) had said that there's no evidence the strain can result in a more severe illness.
Abdullah said that this meant people needed to be more aware and careful in the country.
"Among them are social distancing, maintaining personal hygiene, wearing facemasks in public places and in close contact with one another".
Malaysia reported 26 new cases on Saturday, bringing the total number of infections so far to 9,175.