VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - A new study published in a medical archive site states that the coronavirus has mutated and evolved, becoming more contagious.
The study shows the virus mutating from when the pandemic began to how it is now. Because of this mutation, it can spread faster, the study found.
“Looking at our two waves here, we had a wave one and then it went down very low. And then, unfortunately, after Memorial Day, it started cruising up again. That’s what we call wave two," said James Musser, the chair of the Department of Pathology & Genomic Medicine at Houston Methodist Hospital.
Musser is the manuscript’s author and led the team during the study.
Houston Methodist Hospital was the first hospital nationally to have molecular testing for COVID-19, which means they could do genetic testing on the virus.
That gives scientists the opportunity to understand how the virus has changed over time.
The study shows, in the second wave, the virus had a specific mutation that helped it invade human cells.
A similar study was done in the United Kingdom and had similar findings.
The evidence led them to conclude that that specific group of virus subtypes are better able to transmit from person to person.
"It’s making it more contagious as I mentioned..., it does not make it what we call ‘virulent,’ better able to kill humans. It’s more contagious, it spreads better but it is not more lethal to humans,” said Musser.
The manuscripts of the study was published in a medical archive site.
Musser said this is how it works for a new study.
It has already been reviewed by other medical professionals.
Now, it’s waiting to be approved and officially published in a medical journal.
Musser said because of the pandemic, it’s been faster to get studies approved because it’s important to get information out for other research.
When it comes to controlling the spread, Musser said to continue following the guidance.
“For the folks who are adhering to all the recommendations that are based on very solid scientific data, wear your mask, socially distance, do as much as possible outdoors when you can. Avoid large crowds in doors when you can and in the future get vaccinated,” said Musser.
Musser stresses getting the flu shot.
He says we do not need a flu epidemic on top of the COVID pandemic.
WALB reached out to the CDC for comment but did not hear back. The South Health District spokesperson couldn’t comment on the study either.