New ‘Columbus strain’ of coronavirus evolved in the US

Two new COVID-19 variants have been found in Ohio, and they appear to have originated in the United States, researchers announced on Wednesday (Jan. 13).

One of these variants, dubbed the “Columbus strain,” has three gene mutations that haven’t previously been seen together in SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, according to a statement from The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. These mutations occur in the so-called spike protein of the virus, which it uses to latch onto cells.

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