"Scientists have identified a new strain of the coronavirus that has become dominant worldwide and appears to be more contagious..."

"... than the versions that spread in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new study led by scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory. The new strain appeared in February in Europe, migrated quickly to the East Coast of the United States and has been the dominant strain across the world since mid-March.... The mutation identified in the new report affects the now infamous spikes on the exterior of the coronavirus, which allow it to enter human respiratory cells.... Italy was one of the first countries to see the new virus in the last week of February, almost at the same time that the original strain appeared. Washington was among the first states to get hit with the original strain in late February, but by March 15 the mutated strain dominated. New York was hit by the original virus around March 15, but within days the mutant strain took over.... Some of the [vaccine] compounds in development are supposed to latch onto the spike or interrupt its action. If they were designed based on the original version of the spike, they might not be effective against the new coronavirus strain... Although the researchers don’t yet know the details about how the mutated spike behaves inside the body, it’s clearly doing something that gives it an evolutionary advantage over its predecessor and is fueling its rapid spread. One scientist called it a 'classic case of Darwinian evolution.'"

From "A mutant coronavirus has emerged, even more contagious than the original, study says" (L.A. Times reports).

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