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      Tracking changes in SARS-CoV-2 Spike: evidence that D614G increases infectivity of the COVID-19 virus

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          Summary

          A SARS-CoV-2 variant carrying the Spike protein amino acid change D614G has become the most prevalent form in the global pandemic. Dynamic tracking of variant frequencies revealed a recurrent pattern of G614 increase at multiple geographic levels: national, regional and municipal. The shift occurred even in local epidemics where the original D614 form was well established prior to the introduction of the G614 variant. The consistency of this pattern was highly statistically significant, suggesting that the G614 variant may have a fitness advantage. We found that the G614 variant grows to higher titer as pseudotyped virions. In infected individuals G614 is associated with lower RT-PCR cycle thresholds, suggestive of higher upper respiratory tract viral loads, although not with increased disease severity. These findings illuminate changes important for a mechanistic understanding of the virus, and support continuing surveillance of Spike mutations to aid in the development of immunological interventions.

          Highlights:

          • -

            A SARS-CoV-2 variant with Spike G614 has replaced D614 as the dominant pandemic form

          • -

            The consistent increase of G614 at regional levels may indicate a fitness advantage

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            G614 is associated with lower RT PCR Ct’s, suggestive of higher viral loads in patients

          • -

            The G614 variant grows to higher titers as pseudotyped virions

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          Author and article information

          Contributors
          Journal
          Cell
          Cell
          Cell
          Published by Elsevier Inc.
          0092-8674
          1097-4172
          3 July 2020
          3 July 2020
          Affiliations
          [1 ]Theoretical Biology and Biophysics, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM 87545 USA
          [2 ]New Mexico Consortium, Los Alamos, MN 87545, USA
          [3 ]La Jolla Institute for Immunology, La Jolla, CA 92037 USA
          [4 ]Sheffield Biomedical Research Centre & Sheffield Bioinformatics Core, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, S10 2HQ UK
          [5 ]Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield, S10 2JF UK
          [6 ]Department of Infection, Immunity and Cardiovascular Disease, Medical School, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, S10 2RX UK
          [7 ]Duke Human Vaccine Institute & Department of Surgery, Durham, NC 27710 USA
          [8 ]Program in Virology, Harvard University, Boston, MA 02115 USA
          [9 ]Department of Molecular Microbiology, Washington University in Saint Louis, St. Louis MO 63130 USA
          Author notes
          [∗∗ ]Corresponding Author and Lead Contact: Bette Korber , btk@ 123456lanl.gov
          Article
          S0092-8674(20)30820-5
          10.1016/j.cell.2020.06.043
          7332439
          32697968
          6c84ba49-d702-4674-bb31-19a067e58cbf
          © 2020 Published by Elsevier Inc.

          Since January 2020 Elsevier has created a COVID-19 resource centre with free information in English and Mandarin on the novel coronavirus COVID-19. The COVID-19 resource centre is hosted on Elsevier Connect, the company's public news and information website. Elsevier hereby grants permission to make all its COVID-19-related research that is available on the COVID-19 resource centre - including this research content - immediately available in PubMed Central and other publicly funded repositories, such as the WHO COVID database with rights for unrestricted research re-use and analyses in any form or by any means with acknowledgement of the original source. These permissions are granted for free by Elsevier for as long as the COVID-19 resource centre remains active.

          History
          : 29 April 2020
          : 10 June 2020
          : 26 June 2020
          Categories
          Article

          Cell biology
          covid-19,sars-cov-2,diversity,evolution,spike,antibody,infectivity,neutralization
          Cell biology
          covid-19, sars-cov-2, diversity, evolution, spike, antibody, infectivity, neutralization

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