There have been claims that #COVID19 has acquired mutations leading to more transmissible strains. We formally tested whether this was the case using 15,000 #SARSCoV2 genomes from all over the world:
... and the answer is no, not at all!
We analysed all mutations in the #SARSCoV2 genome that are plausible candidates for adaptation to its novel human host with a novel approach comparing the relative number of descendants of all sister lineages with and without a specific mutation.
No single mutation having emerged recurrently to this day is significantly associated with increased transmission of #SARSCoV2. Instead, all those mutations are neutral or deleterious to the virus' transmission, some significantly so.
Interestingly, the majority of recurrent mutations having emerged in #SARSCoV2 to date are not due to mistakes made by the virus during replication. Instead they were caused by the RNA editing machinery, which is part of our immune system.
It was a great honour and privilege to do this work in collaboration with a fantastic team of wonderfully talented scientists. Thank you @LucyvanDorp, Damien Richard, @liampshaw, @CedricCSTan1, @misac42.
You can follow @BallouxFrancois.
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