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Ohio researchers on Wednesday announced that they’ve identified two coronavirus variants that likely originated in the United States.
One of the new strains was identified in a single patient in the state, "so researchers do not yet know the prevalence of the strain in the population," according to Ohio State Wexner Medical Center where researchers first identified the variants.
This new variant "carries a mutation identical to the U.K. strain, but it likely arose in a virus strain already present in the United States," officials said.
Additionally, researchers also found what was described as an "evolving strain with three new mutations" that has become "the dominant virus in Columbus during a three week period in late December 2020 and January."
"We know this shift didn’t come from the U.K. or South African branches of the virus."
The Columbus variant has been named COH.20G/501Y, they said.
The findings were published as pre-print server BioRxiv and have not yet been peer-reviewed.
"Like the U.K. strain, mutations detected in both viruses affect the spikes that stud the surface of SARS-Cov-2.
Like the U.K. strain, the mutations in the Columbus strain are likely to make the virus more infectious, making it easier for the virus to pass from person to person," according to university researchers.
Experts expressed concerns that the mutations could effect the efficacy of existing COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics.
CLICK HERE FOR COMPLETE CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE"It’s important that we don’t overreact to this new variant until we obtain additional data," Mohler continued.
Monitoring the evolution of the virus will be critical to understanding how the mutations affect how doctors diagnose and treat the virus, he said.
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