Southern California Is Origin of New COVID-19 Variant

FRIDAY February 12, 2021 (HealthDay News) – A new variant of COVID-19 found in southern California is spreading in the United States and around the world, according to a new study.

The variant – called CAL.20C – was first discovered in July in Los Angeles County. It reappeared in southern California in October, then spread in November and December, with a regional increase in coronavirus cases.

The variant now accounts for nearly half of COVID-19 cases in Southern California.

It is not clear whether CAL.20C could be more deadly than current coronavirus variants, or if it could withstand current vaccines. New research is underway at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles to help answer these questions.

“The new variants don’t always affect the behavior of a virus in the body,” said study co-author Dr Eric Vail, assistant professor of pathology at the Cedars-Sinai Center for Bioinformatics and Science. functional genomics.

The new variant has spread to 19 states and the District of Columbia, as well as six other countries, according to the report released on Feb.11 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

As of January 22, the variant had been found in Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Michigan, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming and Washington, DC It has also been found in Australia, Denmark, Israel, New Zealand, Singapore and the UK, according to the new study.

Study co-author Jasmine Plummer said people from southern California were carrying CAL.20C to other locations. Plummer is a research scientist at the Cedars-Sinai Center for Bioinformatics and Functional Genomics in Los Angeles.

“CAL.20C is moving, and we think Californians are moving it,” Plummer said in the center’s press release.

Vail said researchers were keenly interested in CAL.20C because it involves the so-called spike protein, which allows the SARS-CoV-2 virus to invade and infect normal cells.

More information

To learn more about COVID-19, visit the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SOURCE: Cedars-Sinai, Los Angeles, press release, February 11, 2021

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