May 6 (UPI) — Scientists have discovered a new strain of the coronavirus that appears to be more contagious than the one circulated in the early days of the new coronavirus pandemic, according to a new study led by scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory in the United States, the Los Angeles Times reported On May 5.
Scientists say the new strain, which appeared in Europe in February and quickly spread to the east coast of the United States, has been the world’s leading strain since mid-March. In addition to spreading faster, the report warns, it could make the body vulnerable to a second infection after the first infection.
The 33-page report, published Tuesday on BioRxiv, a biomedical pre-print website, says that no matter where the new strain appears, it causes far more infections than the earlier strain, and that the new strain is the only strain that has been endemic in some countries in recent weeks. The report says the new strain is more contagious, although the exact cause is unclear.
The report is reported to be based on computational analysis of more than 6,000 coronavirus sequences from around the world, which revealed that the new version of the strain is being transformed into the main strain.
The report contains the time it takes for the new strain to appear first and how long it will take to become the dominant strain in each region. Italy was one of the first countries to discover the new strain, which occurred in the last week of February, almost at the same time as the original strain. Washington state was the first to detect the original strain in late February, but by March 15, the mutated new strain was dominant. The original strain was found in New York around March 15, but within days it was discovered.
The study warns that if the outbreak does not weaken seasonally as the weather warms, the new coronavirus could mutate further, even if the first drugs and vaccines are prepared by research institutions. The study’s authors warn that if drugs and vaccines are designed based on primitive strains, they may not be effective against new strains.
In recent weeks, experts have speculated that they have found at least two strains in the United States, one on the East Coast and the other on the West Coast, experts say.
The los Alamos National Laboratory’s research did not show that the new strain was more deadly than the original, but even if the new strain was no longer more dangerous than other strains, it could complicate control of the outbreak, the report said. If the mutation makes the virus so different from the original strain that people who are immune to the original strain are not immune to the new strain, that would be a problem, and if so, the new strain could leave “individuals vulnerable to a second infection”.
(Originally published as “Us study finds that new, more contagious strains are mainstreamand and can lead to secondary infections”)