Scientists from Ohio have found two additional variants of the COVID-19 coronavirus, based on an initial report from Gizmodo.
A group of scientists from Ohio State University identified the latest mutations, making the virus more infectious. This shows that the variants can spread more quickly through a given population, producing an agonizing potential for an increase in the cases of new infections in the U.S. — where healthcare networks are still highly overworked due to the global pandemic.
One of the latest coronavirus variants was only found in one case, reports Gizmodo, which means it’s a farfetched guess at how far it’s spread. But researchers observed that this variant holds a similar mutation to the B.1.1.7 variant we identified spring up in the U.K. in the previous month.
The other novel coronavirus stress is rolling much more quickly — in Columbus, Ohio. This variant constitutes a lethal mix of mutations — some never witnessed before — that increase the virus’ transmissibility.
However, the scientists don’t yet have the full breakdown of these latest strains, Gizmodo states.
The preprint is still under work for publication — which means their observations have yet to undergo a full judgment in the scientific community.
“It’s vital that we don’t overreact to this newest variant till we gain more data,” added co-author of the study and Chief Scientific Officer Peter Mohler of Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center during a press release.
“We have to comprehend the effect of mutations on the transmission of the virus, the existence of the strain in the population, and whether it has an added impact on human health,” stated Mohler.
However, to say a more contagious variant of the coronavirus will result in a new surge in the number of new infections — eventually increasing the strain and tension in clinics and hospitals — scientists haven’t found a single strain features that make COVID-19 infection more fatal for humans. As of published material, this also holds for the previous U.K. and South African variants.