‘Double Mutant’ COVID Variant Found in California, State Reopens, Scientists Race to Decode Variants
The Stanford Clinical Virology Lab have identified and confirmed a new “double mutant” variant of the coronavirus in California, which has been reopening businesses.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports this new strain is called a “double mutant” because it carries two mutations in the virus that helps it latch onto human cells.
Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, an infectious disease expert at the University of California, San Francisco, said the “double mutant” variant has been found in 20 percent of cases from India’s state of Maharashtra, where coronavirus cases have surged more than 50 percent in the past week:
It also makes sense that it will be more transmissible from a biological perspective as the two mutations act at the receptor-binding domain of the virus, but there have been no official transmission studies to date.
Top biologists are racing to decode new COVID-19 mutations — from U.K., South Africa, Brazil — that are popping up in increasingly complicated patterns, reports Live Mint.
“Does it mean we need to make a new vaccine every year?” said Paul Duprex, who heads the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Vaccine Research. “We don’t know.”