NEW YORK – US researchers have detected two variants of COVID-19 that could be more contagious and behave in a similar way to the British, according to findings of a preliminary study published Wednesday, which highlights that one of them is dominant in the capital of Ohio.
One of the variants has mutated in a similar way to the British, while the other is one not seen to date by researchers and that has become dominant in the Ohio capital, Columbus, in just a few weeks.
The Columbus variant “has the genetic basis of similar cases that we have studied, but it has three mutations that would mean a very important evolution,” said the professor of pathology at Ohio State University Dan Jones, a participant in the study.
According to Jones, the new variant “has increased the transmissibility (of the coronavirus) compared to parent variants” and considered that measures such as restricting movement will not be enough to prevent its spread.
The two variants originated in mutations within the United States and not imported from other countries since March, when they began to be sequenced, an effort that has been accelerated by seeing the prevalence of the strains.
The research, which has not yet been reviewed by the scientific community, indicates that the coronavirus is undergoing a period of significant changes in its genetic makeup.
The Tamaulipas Ministry of Health reported that he was an international traveler from Mexico City.
Although it is too early to determine how contagious the new strains are, the virus has been in the population for several months and is undergoing changes.
The researchers also recalled that it is too early to know if the new variants do not respond to vaccines, which in the US have been being supplied to the population at risk since December.
The White House task force suggested in early January that there could be an “American variant” judging by the extent of infections in recent months in the country.
The US is adding between 200,000 and 300,000 daily infected with COVID-19 with more than 4,000 deaths a day.