Evaluating the Effects of SARS-CoV-2 Spike Mutation D614G on Transmissibility and Pathogenicity

COG-UK Consortium

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670 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

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. We investigate 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 dataset, 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. We do not find any indication 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-75.e11
JournalCell
Volume184
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 7 2021

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • epidemiology
  • evolution
  • founder effect
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • spike

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology

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