More infectious and deadly: local strain of coronavirus identified in California
Scientists in California believe the state has an indigenous strain of coronavirus that could be causing a dramatic increase in cases and deaths. New York Post.
Two separate research teams discovered the "California strain" while looking for a new variant of the virus mutation believed to have come from the UK.
The alleged Californian strain is on the same “family tree” as the British one and may be responsible for the spread of COVID-19 in the state over the past few months, the document says.
One of the laboratories that discovered the strain, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, said it made up 24% of an estimated 4500 virus samples collected across California in the final weeks of 2020.
Another analysis showed that 25% of the 332 samples taken in Northern California belonged to the new strain.
“We had a homebrew version under our noses,” said Dr. Charles Chiu, a laboratory medicine specialist at the University of California, San Francisco.
Chiu said the strain was only found when looking for a British variant.
Dr. Eric Weil, a pathologist at Cedars Sinai, said the strain could be responsible for the state's doubling death toll in less than three months.
“It probably helped increase the number of cases during the holiday season,” Weil said. "But human behavior is the predominant factor in the spread of the virus, and the fact that it happened when the weather got colder and in the midst of the holidays when people get together is no coincidence."
On Monday, January 25, California officials revealed more details about the new strain. New York Post... The strain has been dubbed B1429 and is now reported in 456 cases in the state, according to Governor Gavin Newsom.
But the governor warned that the real number of cases is likely much higher. Newsom said the state is still working to find out if the B1429 strain causes more serious infections, as well as more contagious.
“We are concerned that it [B1429] attaches a little more to the human cell than the natural virus we were dealing with. This could make it more infectious, but we're not sure yet, we're studying it, ”said Mark Ghali, head of the California Department of Health and Human Services.
The number of cases has skyrocketed recently, with 35% of California's 37 coronavirus deaths occurring in the past month, according to Johns Hopkins Medical Center.
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Gali said a combination of vacation travel and the characteristics of the new strain may be to blame.
“Look, I've been playing sports all my life. We have a rival that we have never seen before. We do not have a feature film about COVID-19, we do not know what it will do, so we need to constantly watch the game of the day in order to understand what will happen tomorrow, ”Gali said.
Despite warnings, Newsom canceled the state's stay at home order introduced last month on Jan.25.
Officials say it's unclear if a new vaccine is needed to combat the B1429 strain, but are urging Californians to continue to vaccinate with the state's proposed drugs.
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