Scientists say they have identified a mutation in coronavirus which they believe means a more contagious strain has been sweeping Europe and the US – and could even reinfect those who already have antibodies.

Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory in the US detected 14 mutations in the¬†COVID-19¬†virus spike proteins, one of which – known as Spike D614G – they said was of “urgent concern”.

Their research paper suggests the mutated strain of coronavirus that has become dominant across the world was first indentified in Europe and is different to those which spread early on in the pandemic.

A graphic shows the virus becoming the most dominant strain globally
Image:A graphic shows the mutation, in blue, becoming the most dominant strain

So urgent is the issue that the research paper describing their findings has been made available before being peer-reviewed, although this has caused concern among some observers.