This State Just Confirmed It Has Its Own, More Contagious COVID Strain

This new variant has been named after the city where it's now become the dominant strain.

Shortly after we learned about the U.K. strain of COVID, other concerning mutations cropped up in its wake, the most concerning of which so far have stemmed from South Africa and most recently Japan. But American researchers just announced they found two new variants they believe originated in the States, both discovered in Ohio. In fact, scientists in the Buckeye State say one of the variants has already become the dominant strain in Ohio's biggest city. "Viruses naturally mutate and evolve over time, but the changes seen in the last two months have been more prominent than in the first months of the pandemic," one of the scientists involved in the research said in a statement.

For more information on the new Ohio strains, read on, and for another warning about how the virus is mutating, check out Dr. Fauci Says This Is What's "Disturbing" About One New COVID Strain.

Read the original article on Best Life.

Ohio researchers just discovered two new strains of COVID.

Young team doing coronavirus research
janiecbros / iStock

Scientists at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and College of Medicine have been doing genome sequencing in patients with COVID-19 since March 2020 in order to monitor the evolution of the virus. On Jan. 13, they announced in a statement that they've discovered two new strains of COVID that likely originated in the U.S. But one is seemingly more concerning than the other thus far; it's already become the dominant strain in Columbus, Ohio, leading scientists to deem it the "Columbus strain."

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The Columbus strain became the dominant strain in the city after only a few weeks.

cityscape photo of downtown Columbus, Ohio

The Columbus strain, known as COH.20G/501Y, swiftly became the dominant strain of COVID in Columbus, Ohio, over a three-week period at the end of December and beginning of January, right around the holidays. According to the researchers, similar to 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."

The main difference between the U.K. strain and the Columbus strain is that the latter has three other gene mutations "not previously seen together in SARS-CoV2," according to the report. Lead author Dan Jones, MD, PhD, vice chair of the division of molecular pathology at Wexner Medical Center, said these mutations "represent a significant evolution" in the virus that's distinct from the other new variants making the rounds. "We know this shift didn't come from the U.K. or South African branches of the virus," Jones said.

To see what else the experts are saying about the U.K. variant, check out Dr. Fauci Just Made This Scary Prediction About the U.K. COVID Strain.

The other new Ohio strain has a mutation that's identical to the U.K. strain.

two researchers holding blood vial

In addition to the Columbus strain sweeping the city, researchers in Ohio also found another new variant in one Ohio resident, so they don't yet know how widespread this mutation is. "The 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," according to the statement.

And to see where the U.K. strain has been identified in the U.S. thus far, check out The New COVID Strain Is Now in These 12 States.

Researchers are looking into how these new strains affect the vaccines and other treatments.

medical researcher in coronavirus lab looking into microscope

"The big question is whether these mutations will render vaccines and current therapeutic approaches less effective," said Peter Mohler, PhD, co-author of the study and vice dean for research at Ohio State College of Medicine. "At this point, we have no data to believe that these mutations will have any impact on the effectiveness of vaccines now in use. … We need to understand the impact of mutations on transmission of the virus, the prevalence of the strain in the population and whether it has a more significant impact on human health."

The researchers' full findings will be published shortly, according to the statement, but they have not yet been peer-reviewed.

CNBC reports that Jason McDonald, a spokesman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said that the agency will be looking at the research. To see if you might be safe from one of the concerning new strains, check out Dr. Fauci Just Said These People May Be Safe From the New COVID Strain.

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