A press release by the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center says that their scientists have detected a new variant of SARS-Cov-2, the source of CCP virus infection.
The scientists say that this variant “carries a mutation identical to the U.K. strain,” but that it plausibly came into existence from a genus already in existence in the United States.
Additionally, the document asserts that three mutations were found together for the first time in another SARS-CoV2 strain that evolved in the United States.
“This new Columbus strain has the same genetic backbone as earlier cases we’ve studied, but these three mutations represent a significant evolution,” said vice-chair of the division of molecular pathology Dr. Dan Jones, who led the study. “We know this shift didn’t come from the U.K. or South African branches of the virus.”
These mutations, the study indicates, likely make the virus more transmittable from human to human.
Another researcher involved in the study presented a concerning problem: the vaccines and current therapeutic approaches’ efficacy on the new variants.
“The big question is whether these mutations will render vaccines and current therapeutic approaches less effective,” said Peter Mohler, a co-author of the study. “At this point, we have no data to believe that these mutations will have any impact on the effectiveness of vaccines now in use.”
He thinks it’s critical to monitor the evolution of the virus.
“It’s important that we don’t overreact to this new variant until we obtain additional data,” Mohler stated.
On Jan. 4, Gov. Andrew Cuomo confirmed the first case of the UK COVID-19 variant in someone with no travel history.
“The Wadsworth Lab has confirmed New York State’s first case of the U.K. variant (B.1.1.7) of the virus that causes COVID. An individual from Saratoga County, New York, tested positive for the strain. The individual had no known travel history,” Cuomo said in a statement.
The same UK strain has been confirmed in Colorado, California, and Florida. Scientists believe the variant is at least 50 percent more contagious than other prior strains but is no more severe in symptoms and mortality. They also believe that the vaccines now being distributed will still be effective against it.
The New York State case is linked to a jewelry store. Cuomo urged anyone who visited N. Fox Jewelers at 404 Broadway between Dec. 18 to 24, 2020, to contact the state’s department of health and get tested immediately.
“From a public health point of view now it’s about contact tracing, and this UK strain is reported to be 70 percent more contagious than the normal COVID strain,” Cuomo said. “So, we want to make sure we’re doing everything we can to do effective contact tracing on this case.”
The store has been closed since Dec. 24.
Epoch Times reporter Mimi Nguyen Ly contributed to this report.