New coronavirus mutant identified in New York

New York (NewsNation Now) — New coronavirus variants that are more contagious and potentially cumbersome than traditional strains are on the rise in New York City, researchers said Wednesday.

Two studies, Columbia University and California Institute of Technology, confirmed that the new variant was B.1.526. External experts have not reviewed either study.

A new subspecies that shares similarities with the one first discovered in South Africa was first identified in a sample collected in New York in November. By mid-February, it will account for about 12% of cases, according to researchers at Columbia University Vagelos College.

Researchers in Colombia said analysis of a public database did not show a high prevalence of recently identified coronavirus variants in South Africa and Brazil for samples from the city of New York and its surrounding areas. ..

“Instead, many of these homemade pedigrees have been found,” Dr. Anne Katrin Woolemann, an assistant professor of infectious diseases at Columbia University’s doctors and surgeons’ college, said in a statement to Reuters.

According to a Columbia University study, B.1.526 was the first variant identified in South Africa, B.1.351, and P.1 first identified in Brazil. And share some concerns. Some studies suggest that these new mutants are more resistant to some existing vaccines than previous versions of coronavirus.

The researchers said the main concern was a change in one region of the viral peaplomer called E484K, which is present in all three variants. The E484K mutation is thought to weaken the body’s immune response to the virus.

The California Institute of Technology detected variants using a software tool developed to expedite spike mutations.

“We used this tool to detect new strains of virus isolates in the New York region that share mutations with previously reported mutants,” the researchers said.

The Colombian study was not publicly available as of Wednesday night.

Studies have shown that recently launched coronavirus vaccines are likely to neutralize the virus and protect it from serious illness, even if it is an infection caused by a new mutant. Vaccine makers are also working on developing booster shots to combat mutated versions of the virus.

Report by Deena Beasley and Reuters.

Reuters contributed to this report.

New coronavirus mutant identified in New York

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