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UK and California COVID-19 variants combine into mutation

The new homegrown COVID-19 variant sweeping California has now combined with the highly-contagious UK one to create yet another mutation, according to a report.

A sample from the Golden State showed a “recombination” of the B117 strain first detected in the UK and the local B1429 one being blamed on a surge in cases in Los Angeles, the New Scientist reported.

It was discovered by Bette Korber at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, who only saw a single recombinant genome among thousands of sequences, the report said.

It was not clear if the virus is being transmitted from person to person or if the sample was a one-off, New Scientist stressed.

Such “recombination” is feared because it can create even more dangerous variants, the magazine said.

However, Sergei Pond from Temple University in Pennsylvania told the outlet that “coronaviruses all recombine, so it’s a question of when, not if.”

COVID1

People take a COVID-19 test on the Martin Luther King Jr. Medical Campus in Los Angeles.

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

COVID2

People line up for a COVID-19 test in Los Angeles, California.

AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

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“We may be getting to the point when this is happening at appreciable rates,” Pond told the outlet.

Lucy van Dorp at University College London also said that she “would not be overly surprised if some cases start to be detected.”


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