A new strain of the coronavirus is currently spreading quickly across southeast Asia, especially the Philippines, which is facing the region’s largest outbreak. The new strain named D614G has been spotted in several countries across Asia but it was first detected in a Malaysian cluster of 45 cases.
D614G started from someone who had just returned from India and broke his 14-day home quarantine protocol. This particular strain is now being detected frequently in the Philippines among random Covid-19 samples collected from its capital region.
The man who came back from India had tested negative when he arrived in Malaysia. Now, he has been sentenced to five months in prison and fined for breaching the quarantine.
How infectious is the mutated COVID strain?
The Health Undersecretary of Philippines, Maria Rosario Vergeire said that the mutation “is said to have a higher possibility of transmission or infectiousness, but we still don’t have enough solid evidence to say that that will happen.”
Meanwhile, Benjamin Cowling, head of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of Hong Kong thinks that the D614G strain might just have a competitive advantage over other strains of COVID-19.
The strain “might be a little bit more contagious,” Cowling told Bloomberg. “We haven’t yet got enough evidence to evaluate that, but there’s no evidence that it’s a lot more contagious.”
The way D614G strain of coronavirus is making its way across southeast Asia has got Malaysian health officials worrying it may be more infectious than even COVID-19.
Even though the strain has been found in several other countries and has become the predominant variant in Europe and the U.S., the World Health Organization says there’s no evidence the strain leads to more severe disease. It is worth noting that this mutated strain has also been detected in recent outbreaks in China.