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New study: 7 variants found in U.S. with same mutation

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Posted at 1:50 PM, Feb 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-16 16:50:23-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A team of scientists are declaring that a total of seven coronavirus variants spotted around the United States are carrying the same mutation, as reported in a study published over the weekend.

“These variants tell us that the virus is adapting to us,” said UC San Diego’s Dr. Davey Smith, Chief of Infectious Diseases and Global Public Health.

“The virus evolves every day that it's growing. It develops mutations and some of those mutations are beneficial to the virus and if they're beneficial to the virus in terms of being able to spread, then those mutations stay and that’s why we call them variants,” he said.

The new study reveals that the mutation is in a gene that influences how the virus gets into the host cells, leading researchers to worry about whether the mutation causes the variants to be more transmissible. The new study has yet to be peer-reviewed.

Meanwhile, the contagious UK and South African variants remain of serious concern.

“People should get their vaccine as soon as they’re offered it. That's one way to curb the evolution of the virus in general. So, the more of us that get vaccinated as soon as possible, the less the virus is able to grow within the human population and less likely to evolve,” added Dr. Smith.

He said that in the future, the public may need to receive annual COVID-19 vaccines, similar to how flu shots are given, because the flu virus continues to evolve.

This story originally reported by Jennifer Kastner on 10News.com.