Global dispersal and increasing frequency of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein variant D614G are suggestive of a selective advantage but may also be due to a random founder effect.
It was investigated the hypothesis for positive selection of Spike D614G in the United Kingdom using more than 25,000 whole genome SARS-CoV-2 sequences.
Despite the availability of a large data set, well represented by both Spike 614 variants, not all approaches showed a conclusive signal of positive selection.
Population genetic analysis indicates that 614G increases in frequency relative to 614D in a manner consistent with a selective advantage.
No indication was found that patients infected with the Spike 614G variant have higher COVID-19 mortality or clinical severity, but 614G is associated with higher viral load and younger age of patients.
Significant differences in growth and size of 614G phylogenetic clusters indicate a need for continued study of this variant.
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