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Warnings of increased infectiousness from Melbourne coronavirus mutation

Genome sequencing has revealed a COVID-19 mutation from Melbourne has crossed the border into NSW, and it has epidemiologists worried.

Deakin University chair of epidemiology Professor Catherine Bennett told George Moore a new foreign strain, likely imported by a returned traveller, is apparently responsible for Victoria’s current surge in cases.

Lab studies have shown some worrying risks associated with the Melbourne mutation.

“There’s been some suggestion that some of these mutations might actually increase the infectiousness of a particular strain.

“The good news was that it didn’t actually make it more virulent or more harmful.”

The caveat, she said, is that “nothing so far has been definitely proven”.

Professor Bennett explained the fatality rate associated with COVID-19 is due to the virus’ extremely effective protein formations.

“That’s what makes this virus different to other forms of coronavirus, like the common cold.

“There would have to be significant mutation where that would disappear for this to actually die out.”

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Image: Getty