Opinion EDITORIAL John R. Mascola, MD; Barney S. Graham, MD, PhD; Anthony S. Fauci, MD In this issue of JAMA, Zhang and colleagues report the During the early phase of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, there emergence of a novel severe acute respiratory syndrome were only modest levels of genetic evolution; however, more coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variant in Southern California recent information indicates that even a single amino acid sub- stitution can have biological implications. Starting in April that accounted for 44% (37 of 85) of samples collected and studied in January 2021. 2020, the original SARS-CoV-2 strain was replaced in many re- The terminology of viral var- gions of the world by a variant called D614G, which was sub- Related article iation can be confusing be- sequently shown to increase the efficiency of viral replica- cause the media and even scientific communications often tion in humans and was more transmissible in animal 4-6 use the terms variant, strain, and lineage interchangeably. models. The D614G strain appears to position its receptor The terminology reflects the basic replication biology of RNA binding domain to interact more efficiently with the ACE2 re- viruses that results in the introduction of mutations through- ceptor, and
JAMA – American Medical Association
Published: Apr 13, 2021
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