Researchers: New coronavirus variant identified in New York

Researchers say new coronavirus variant that shares some similarities with the South African variant is on the rise in New York City.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Coronavirus strain
Coronavirus strain
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A new coronavirus variant that shares some similarities with the more transmissible and intractable variant discovered in South Africa is on the rise in New York City, researchers said on Wednesday, according to Reuters.

The new variant, known as B.1.526, was first identified in samples collected in New York in November, and by mid-February represented about 12% of cases, said researchers at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons.

The variant was also described in research published online this week by the California Institute of Technology. Neither study has been reviewed by outside experts.

The Columbia researchers said an analysis of publicly available databases did not show a high prevalence of coronavirus variants recently identified in South Africa and Brazil in case samples from New York City and surrounding areas.

The Columbia study found that B.1.526 shares some worrying characteristics with B.1.351, the variant first identified in South Africa, and P.1., which was first identified in Brazil.

The researchers said the main concern is a change in one area of the virus’ spike protein, called E484K, that is present in all three variants. The E484K mutation is believed to weaken the body’s immune response to the virus.



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