KUALA LUMPUR - Experts claim they have found a new strain of the deadly coronavirus which is as much as 10 times more infectious than others.
The mutation called D614G, observed in other parts of the world, was found in at least three of the 45 cases in a cluster understood to have started at an undisclosed Malaysian restaurant.
It happened after the owner who had returned from India breached his 14-day quarantine.
He has since been sentenced to five months behind bars and also fined.
Another strain was found in a group returning to the country from the Philippines.
Top US immunologist Dr Anthony Fauci said the new mutation might help with the spread of coronavirus.
There are fears the new strain could mean existing studies on vaccines are incomplete or might even be ineffective against the mutation, Malaysia's Director-General of Health, Noor Hisham Abdullah said.
The mutation has become the more prominent variant in Europe and the US.
The World Health Organisation has said there is no evidence to suggest the strain leads to more severe cases of the disease.
A report in the United States biomedical Journal Cell Press said it is unlikely to have a major impact on vaccines currently in development.(FA)