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Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Ohio State Wexner Center Finds Covid Variant Similar to But Independent From U.K. Strain in Columbus

Posted By on Wed, Jan 13, 2021 at 2:42 PM

click to enlarge OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY
  • Ohio State University
A Covid variant similar to the one that was first identified in the U.K. has been found in Ohio, the Wexner Medical Center and College of Medicine announced today.

The mutation, while identical, came not from someone infected with the U.K. variant but from a domestic strain. The Wexner Center also said a Covid variant with three distinct mutations is now the dominant strain found in Columbus.

While experts say that the mutations make the strain more infectious, the larger question is whether the available vaccines work as well against these strains as others.

“This new Columbus strain has the same genetic backbone as earlier cases we’ve studied, but these three mutations represent a significant evolution,” Dr. Dan Jones, vice chair of the division of molecular pathology, said in a release. “We know this shift didn’t come from the U.K. or South African branches of the virus."

“At this point, we have no data to believe that these mutations will have any impact on the effectiveness of vaccines now in use.” “It’s important that we don’t overreact to this new variant until we obtain additional data,” Peter Mohler, 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, said in the same release. “We need to understand the impact of mutations on transmission of the virus, the prevalence of the strain in the population and whether it has a more significant impact on human health. Further, it is critical that we continue to monitor the evolution of the virus so we can understand the impact of the mutant forms on the design of both diagnostics and therapeutics. It is critical that we make decisions based on the best science.”

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