Two new COVID-19 variants have been discovered in Ohio, and they appear to have occurred in the United States, researchers announced Wednesday (January 13).
One of these mutants, called the “Columbus strain,” has three genetic mutations previously not found together in SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. According to the statement From Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. These mutations occur in the so-called peplomer of the virus and are used to latch into cells.
This strain quickly became dominant Coronavirus Researchers say they would like to immediately post their findings to the preprint database bioRxiv in Columbus, Ohio, over a three-week period from late December to early January 2020.
Relation: Rapidly Popular British Variants: Answer All Questions
“This new Columbus strain has the same genetic backbone as the previous cases we studied, but these three mutations represent a significant evolution,” said the Wexner Center for the Molecular Pathology. Said Dr. Dan Jones, a research leader who is the vice-chairman of the. In the statement. “We know that this change did not come from the UK or South Africa branch of the virus.”
Ohio researchers have been regularly sequencing the SARS-CoV-2 genome from patient samples since March 2020 to monitor viral evolution.
Like other coronavirus variants found around the world, UK variantMutations in the Columbus strain occur in the “peplomer” of the virus, allowing the virus to invade cells. Researchers said these mutations could make the virus more contagious.
However, so far, there is no evidence that these mutations affect the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccine, According to researchers.
“It’s important not to overreact to this new variant until we get additional data,” said Peter Moller, co-author of the study and chief scientific officer at the Wexner Center for the Medical Center.
The second mutation discovered by Ohio researchers is the same mutation found in the UK mutation called 501Y. This mutation affects the receptor binding domain, or some of the viral peplomer proteins that latch on the ACE2 receptor in human cells. In laboratory experiments, previous studies have shown that mutated receptor-binding domains bind more strongly to the ACE2 receptor.
However, researchers believe that the Ohio mutant evolved the mutation independently of a strain already in the United States. Found in one patient in Ohio, researchers still don’t know how widespread it is throughout the population.
Spokesperson at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Told CNBC The agency is considering new research.
Originally published in Live Science.
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