C. Michael Gibson, MD (Cardiology, BIDMC) discusses mutations of COVID-19 and how they may potentially change its impact.

Boston 25 News – July 21, 2020

Scientists: Coronavirus mutations could mean fewer deaths

BOSTON — Some scientists are claiming that constant mutations of the coronavirus are causing it to weaken. Is that true?

Boston 25 News spoke to Dr. C. Michael Gibson from Beth Israel Deaconess and a Harvard professor.

Gibson says yes and no to that possibility.

He says the first mutation of the virus to come to America was already mutated.

“The virus that spread to the U.S. is the G-614… this G-614 attaches very tightly and is 10 times more infectious,” Gibson said.

However, Gibson said it’s unclear if more infectious means this strain is more dangerous.

“It doesn’t seem to be producing any more severe disease and there are questions whether it may produce less severe disease,” he said.

And while numbers of COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the southern U.S., the number of deaths is not.

“Why is the mortality lower in some parts of the U.S. like the South? Some of it may be this newer strain,” Gibson said.

But that newer strain may not be the only answer. Better treatments also play a big part, he said.

“Possibly we’re are getting to people earlier, getting them treatment earlier and maybe some of the new drugs we have at our disposal,” Gibson said.

Last week, Boston 25 reported about a promising vaccine trial from local company Moderna. It’s one of several in the works worldwide.

But Gibson said until a vaccine is available, the upcoming flu season could make matters worse.

He says getting coronavirus and the flu could be fatal. So, if a flu shot is not on your to do list, Gibson advises you to think again.

“Please reconsider, this is the year to get your flu shot,” he said.