A mutation of the coronavirus that is far more infectious than the original Wuhan strain has been detected in Malaysia, the health authorities said yesterday.
The D614G mutation was discovered by the Malaysian Institute for Medical Research in four cases from two Covid-19 clusters in the country – the Sivagangga cluster and the Ulu Tiram cluster, said health chief Noor Hisham Abdullah in a Facebook post on Sunday.
According to Datuk Dr Hisham, the discovery of the mutation means people need to be more careful and continue being disciplined in practising safety measures such as social distancing, personal hygiene and wearing of masks.
“It’s found to be 10 times more infectious and is easily spread by an individual ‘super spreader’,” he said, of the mutation.
He said the strain was found in preliminary tests and that follow-up tests would be conducted on other cases including the index cases of both clusters.
He added that the D614G mutation was discovered by scientists in July 2020, and could render existing vaccine research incomplete or ineffective against the new strain.
Nevertheless he noted that the swift action by Malaysia’s public health authorities has controlled the virus’ spread from the affected clusters.
Malaysia reported 26 new cases on Saturday, bringing the total number of infections so far to 9,175. No new fatalities were reported, keeping the death toll at 125.