A research group led by Prof. Yoshihiro Kawaoka at The Institute of Medical Science, The University of Tokyo (IMSUT) in Japan, Prof. Ralph Baric from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA. and other co-researchers showed in hamster experiments that the D614G substitution enhances SARS-CoV-2 infectivity, competitive fitness, and transmission in primary human cells and animal models.
The results of this research were published in “Science ” on November 12, 2020.
The spike D614G substitution is prevalent in global SARS-CoV-2 strains, but its effects on viral pathogenesis and transmissibility remain unclear. We engineered a SARS-CoV-2 variant containing this substitution. The variant exhibits more efficient infection, replication, and competitive fitness in primary human airway epithelial cells, but maintains similar morphology and in vitro neutralization properties, compared with the ancestral wild-type virus. Infection of human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) transgenic mice and Syrian hamsters with both viruses resulted in similar viral titers in respiratory tissues and pulmonary disease. However, the D614G variant transmits significantly faster and displayed increased competitive fitness than the wild-type virus in hamsters. These data show that the D614G substitution enhances SARS-CoV-2 infectivity, competitive fitness, and transmission in primary human cells and animal models.
D614G substitution enhances SARS-CoV-2 transmission in hamsters.
Press release (Japanese only)
SARS-CoV-2 D614G variant exhibits efficient replication ex vivo and transmission in vivo
"SARS-CoV-2 D614G variant exhibits efficient replication ex vivo and transmission in vivo"
Science Online November 12, 2020 doi:10.1126/science.abe8499
Yixuan J. Hou, Shiho Chiba, Peter Halfmann, Camille Ehre, Makoto Kuroda, Kenneth H Dinnon III, Sarah R. Leist, Alexandra Schäfer, Noriko Nakajima, Kenta Takahashi, Rhianna E. Lee, Teresa M. Mascenik, Rachel Graham, Caitlin E. Edwards, Longping V. Tse, Kenichi Okuda, Alena J. Markmann, Luther Bartelt, Aravinda de Silva, David M. Margolis, Richard C. Boucher, Scott H. Randell, Tadaki Suzuki, Lisa E. Gralinski, Yoshihiro Kawaoka* and Ralph S. Baric*