(ETH) – Researchers in Ohio are claiming they have discovered two new strains of the coronavirus that they are saying likely originated in the U.S. — one of which quickly became the dominant strain in Columbus, Ohio, over a three-week period in late December and early January.
According to the report, the U.S. mutations appear to make Covid-19 more contagious similar to the UK strains that were recently identified but do not seem like they will diminish the effectiveness of the vaccines according to researchers. According to the report from CNBC, One of the new strains, that was discovered in one patient in Ohio,
contains a mutation identical to the now-dominant variant in the U.K., noting that it “likely arose in a virus strain already present in the United States.” However, the “Columbus strain,” which the researchers said in a press release has become dominant in the city, includes “three other gene mutations not previously seen together in SARS-CoV2.”
“This new Columbus strain has the same genetic backbone as earlier cases we’ve studied, but these three mutations represent a significant evolution,” Dr. Dan Jones, vice-chair of the division of molecular pathology at Ohio State and lead author of the study, said in a statement.
“We know this shift didn’t come from the U.K. or South African branches of the virus.” Jones went on and added that it’s too early to determine how much more infectious this strain in Columbus might be, but researchers believe it’s likely more contagious just based on how quickly it’s spread over the past few weeks.