Researchers at Stanford University said on Saturday they had found at least one case of a new variant of the coronavirus first detected in India in northern California.
The new variant has two mutations, including one found in the California strain, in the spiky protein that the virus clings to, according to Stanford Health Care spokesperson Lisa Kim. The variant was found in a patient in the San Francisco Bay Area by the school’s clinical virology lab.
“We believe this is the first case described with this variant in the United States,” she said in an emailed statement.
The variant was first detected last month by Indian health officials, the Associated Press reported. Cases in India had declined nationwide since September, but started to rise throughout the winter. More than 47,000 new infections were detected in 24 hours, including 275 deaths, in March, according to the AP.
Covid-19 rates fell across California this spring following a deadly winter surge that began in late November and did not subside until after the New Year. The drop in cases has allowed some of the state’s most populous counties, including Los Angeles, to begin easing restrictions and gradually reopening the economy.
California has recorded more cases of the coronavirus than any other state in the country, with more than 3.5 million known infections and at least 58,000 deaths on Saturday, according to the Department of Health.
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