New research has revealed that Covid-19 is probably becoming more contagious, with the virus continuing to mutate over the course of the pandemic.
Scientists from Houston in the US released a study earlier this week of more than 5,000 genetic sequences of the coronavirus in people in the city's metropolitan area that showed the virus’s continual accumulation of mutations, which may have made it more contagious.
The new study did not find that mutations of the virus have made it more lethal or changed the effects of the virus on people.
All viruses accumulate genetic mutations, and most are insignificant, the scientists say.
New study should not be over-interpreted
David Morens, a virologist at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in the US, reviewed the study and said that the findings point to the strong possibility that the virus has become more transmissible as it has moved through the population.
However, he added that the new study should not be over-interpreted.
He also said that health interventions, including social distancing, could be responding with the virus.
He added: “All those things are barriers to transmissibility, or contagion, but as the virus becomes more contagious it statistically is better at getting around those barriers.”
Current Coronavirus figures
The UK has currently suffered 41,902 Covid-19 related deaths, and yesterday had 6,634 new daily cases.
The US saw 38,204 new cases on Wednesday, bringing the number of Covid-19 cases reported in the country to 6.9 million. On Tuesday the US surpassed 200,000 coronavirus deaths.
The nation leads the world with the highest number of coronavirus cases and deaths.