Scientists at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and College of Medicine have discovered a new variant of COVID-19. This new variant has the same mutation previously seen in the United Kingdom strain.
However, scientists said this particular variant likely came from a virus strain already present in the United States. The researchers also reported the evolution of another U.S. strain that acquired three other gene mutations not previously seen together in SARS-CoV2.
These findings are still under review for publication in bioRxiv as a pre-print.
Although only one patient has been confirmed with this new variant in Ohio, the strain with these new mutations had become the dominant strain in Columbus for three weeks from late December 2020 and early January.
Peter Mohler is a co-author of the study and chief scientific officer at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center and vice dean for research at the College of Medicine.
“The big question is whether these mutations will render vaccines and current therapeutic approaches less effective,” Mohler said in a statement. “At this point, we have no data to believe that these mutations will have any impact on the effectiveness of vaccines now in use.”