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The COVID-19 virus has been running rampant around the world for over a year now. On March 24, 2021, scientists discovered a “double mutant” variant in India. Shortly afterward, scientists at the Stanford lab in California identified the new double variant in the United States.
The patient with the “double mutant” strain is from the San Francisco Bay Area. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have been tracking the various strains of the virus. Two other worrisome mutations have been identified and are closely being tracked in the U.S.
These are the L452R and the E484Q strains. The L452R strain is also known as the California variant. This strain is believed to make COVID-19 more infectious. It could also reduce a person’s immunity who has been vaccinated.
E484Q is a family member of the E484K mutation. This mutation has been found in strains first found in Brazil, New York, and South Africa.
Experts have been concerned about the E484K mutation due to the possibility it can partly evade a person’s immune system. Those who have been inoculated — or survived a conventional COVID-19 strain — are the ones who may have their immune system’s protective response evaded.
Director of the Clinical Virology Laboratory at Standford, Dr. Benjamin Pinsky had this to say about the two worrisome mutations. “We don’t know how those two mutations behave when they’re paired together.” Due to this fact they are concerned about how this new COVID-19 variant may affect people.
Scientists discovered the “double mutant” virus in India’s second-most populous state, Maharashtra. This state’s largest city is Mumbai. Experts believe the new COVID-19 variant is responsible for about 15 to 20 percent of the new virus cases there.
Pinsky stated that when the “double mutant” variant was detected in California they thought, “Wow, this is actually the same variant that they’re talking about.” He also said they were also highly concerned with the impressive and rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus.
The Stanford laboratory has also identified seven possible other cases of the new mutant COVID-19 strain. These patients also live in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Scientists discovered the India COVID-19 variant during their viral genetic sequencing of patients treated in the Stanford-run health care facilities.
According to health officials, the new “double mutant” strain is very similar to the South African and Brazilian variants. These two can change parts of the COVID-19’s outer layer. This is also how the virus uses to make contact with people’s cells. They then bind to them, enter them, and then infect the person.
Written by Sheena Robertson
The Los Angeles Times: ‘Double mutant’ coronavirus variant is found in California; by Rong-Gong Lin II, and Luke Money
CBS DC: India ‘Double Variant’ Strain Of COVID-19 Detected In San Francisco Bay Area
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of IAEA Imagebank’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License