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This is a summary of "Patient-derived mutations impact pathogenicity of SARS-CoV-2"


How common are mutations in SARS-CoV-2, and do the mutations lead to changes in the severity of the disease?

A small study convincingly shows that coronavirus may have more mutations than previously expected, but more data is needed on whether these mutations actually change how deadly the virus is.

Key takeaways

Why is this important?

This research is important for a couple reasons. Figuring out what mutations there are and how quickly the coronavirus mutates is important for researchers working on treatments and vaccines so that they can target the right areas of the virus. Second, if different strains of the virus are more infectious or more lethal than others, this could help different countries and regions better manage their outbreaks.

This study has recently been taken up by media outlets, mainly focusing on the possibility that mutations might make some strains of the coronavirus more deadly than others. Let’s take a look at those claims.

What did the study do?

How was it reported?

The original paper is a preprint study. It has not been certified by peer review from other researchers, and information presented may be erroneous. Do not use it to guide clinical practice! Learn more →

Original Paper DOI10.1101/2020.04.14.20060160

Patient-derived mutations impact pathogenicity of SARS-CoV-2 [PDF]

Additional Reading

For more details and technical discussion of the study, we recommend reading the following resources:


  1. Whether viruses are actually living things is a biological debate, but in this context, we just mean the virus particles are able to reproduce or replicate.

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