Evaluating the Effects of SARS-CoV-2 Spike Mutation D614G on Transmissibility and Pathogenicity

COG-UK Consortium, Carlos Enrique Balcazar Lopez (Contributor)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

443 Citations (SciVal)


Global dispersal and increasing frequency of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein variant D614G are suggestive of a selective advantage but may also be due to a random founder effect. We investigate the hypothesis for positive selection of spike D614G in the United Kingdom using more than 25,000 whole genome SARS-CoV-2 sequences. Despite the availability of a large dataset, well represented by both spike 614 variants, not all approaches showed a conclusive signal of positive selection. Population genetic analysis indicates that 614G increases in frequency relative to 614D in a manner consistent with a selective advantage. We do not find any indication that patients infected with the spike 614G variant have higher COVID-19 mortality or clinical severity, but 614G is associated with higher viral load and younger age of patients. Significant differences in growth and size of 614G phylogenetic clusters indicate a need for continued study of this variant.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-75.e11
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jan 7

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Infectious Medicine


  • Amino Acid Substitution
  • Aspartic Acid/analysis
  • COVID-19/epidemiology
  • Genome, Viral
  • Glycine/analysis
  • Humans
  • Mutation
  • SARS-CoV-2/genetics
  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
  • United Kingdom/epidemiology
  • Virulence
  • Whole Genome Sequencing


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