Researchers find worrying new coronavirus variant in New York City

Virus Outbreak New York
Source: AP
2 Min Read

Daily US Times: This week, two separate teams of researchers said they have found a worrying new coronavirus variant in New York City and elsewhere in the Northeast that carries mutations that help the virus evade the body’s natural immune response — as well as the effects of monoclonal antibody treatments.

Genomics researchers have named the coronavirus variant B.1.526. The researchers said it appears in people affected in diverse neighborhoods of New York City and is “scattered in the Northeast.”

One of the mutations in this virus variant is the same concerning change found in the variant first seen in South Africa and known as B.1.351.

It appears to evade, somewhat, the body’s response to Covid-19 vaccines, as well and it’s becoming more common.

One team, at Columbia University Medical Center, said: “We observed a steady increase in the detection rate from late December to mid-February, with an alarming rise to 12.7% in the past two weeks.” The report has yet to be published, although it is scheduled to appear in pre-print version this week.

It’s the latest of a growing number of viral variants of the coronavirus that have arisen in the United States, which has had more coronavirus cases — 28 million — than any other country and where spread is still intense.

Dr. David Ho, Director of the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center at Columbia, said: ”It’s home grown, presumably in New York.” Dr Ho led the study team.

Viruses mutate all the time. The more people who are infected by a virus, and the longer they are infected, the more chance the viruses have to change. That’s why it is worrying for scientists.

A patient’s body will be loaded with billions of copies of a virus, and may will be slightly mutated or changed. Most will come and go.

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