Thursday, April 30, 2020

In case you wondered …

… Could the lockdown have side-effects no one has considered? | Spectator USA. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

A recent paper from China employed a more thorough sequencing technique than generally used to examine the virus from a small number of cases. Standard quick-but-superficial sequencing methods have already revealed more than 4,000 mutations in the virus. But the detailed method revealed 19 new, overlooked mutations in just 11 patients, and these mutations altered the infectivity of the virus. The most aggressive strain generated a viral load that was 270 times greater than the weakest one, and also killed cells fastest. This is the first direct evidence for the effects described above, namely that mutations in this virus can affect the severity of disease. And with such a maelstrom of mutation going on below the surface of standard detection methods, it is entirely possible that an intervention as drastic as lockdown could be having negative effects on the evolution of the virus itself that we don’t appreciate.

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