Scientists find ‘double mutant’ coronavirus variant in California

Coronavirus
A rendition of coronavirus particles.(National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases)

A rendition of coronavirus particles.(National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases)

A possibly worrisome variant of the coronavirus first identified in India — so new that it has no official name — has been found in California by scientists at Stanford University.

Nicknamed the “double mutant” variant by the BBC and others, the variant is sparking concern among some scientists because it contains not just one, but two worrisome mutations in its genetic composition that have been identified among other variants of concern being tracked by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We don’t know how those two mutations behave when they’re paired together,” Dr. Benjamin Pinsky, director of the Clinical Virology Laboratory at Stanford, said in an interview Monday.

The existence of the newly discovered variant was first disclosed by India’s government on March 24, Pinsky said, after a surge of coronavirus cases was detected in the nation’s second-most populous state, Maharashtra, whose largest city is Mumbai. The new variant is responsible for roughly 15% to 20% of new coronavirus cases there.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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