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expert reaction to preprint on COVID-19 and patient-derived mutations

A preprint, posted on medRxiv, reports on COVID-19 and patient-derived mutations.


Prof Ian Jones, Professor of Virology, University of Reading, said:

“Coronaviruses generate mutations as part of their normal replication.  That some of these would have an effect on virus properties is not surprising.  However, this is a lab study, a description of possibilities, it does not address how the virus moves in the human population where many factors, usually summed up as virus “fitness”, apply at the same time.

“Virus tracking so far has not indicated any trend towards a version 2 of the virus.

“Rather than get distracted with potential mutants we should remain focused on detection and treatment of the virus as we find it now.

“At our cost the virus is doing well enough colonising the human population, I don’t see the drive for it to get nastier anytime soon.”



Preprint (not a paper): ‘Patient-derived mutations impact pathogenicity of SARS-CoV-2’ by Hangping Yao et al. is on medRxiv.  This work is not peer-reviewed.


All our previous output on this subject can be seen at this weblink:


Declared interests

None received.



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