PUBLISHED: 11:41, Mon, Nov 2, 2020 | UPDATED: 11:41, Mon, Nov 2, 2020
In doing so, they singled out one particular mutation, D614G, which seems to make it easier for the disease to spread. Co-author Dr Ilya Finkelstein, an associate professor in molecular biosciences at the University of Texas, said: "The virus is mutating due to a combination of neutral drift - which just means random genetic changes that don't help or hurt the virus - and pressure from our immune systems.
The virus continues to mutate as it rips through the world
Dr Ilya Finkelstein
"The virus continues to mutate as it rips through the world.
"Real-time surveillance efforts like our study will ensure that global vaccines and therapeutics are always one step ahead."
The study, published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal mBio, indicates during the first wave of the pandemic, 71 percent of COVID-19 patients had the D614G mutation.
Doctors in Houston, Texas treat a coronavirus patient (Image: GETTY)
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However, the University of Texas team found by the time the second wave hit, the variant had leapt to 99.9 percent prevalence.
In total, researchers have identified 285 mutations, although most do not seem to have had any impact on its severity.
Ongoing studies are looking at COVID-19 patients to try and establish how the virus is adapting to neutralising antibodies produced by human immune systems.
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The coronavirus which causes COVID-19 may be becoming more contagious (Image: GETTY)
The report, referring specifically to the state's largest city,