6 recent updates on coronavirus variants

AY.4.2, a descendant of the delta coronavirus variant that has gained some traction in the U.K. and has been detected in the U.S., is the newest strain making headlines. 

In an Oct. 21 statement sent to Becker's, the CDC said there is no indication that the strain — which is rare in the U.S. and accounts for less than 0.05 percent of cases sequenced — affects the effectiveness of vaccines or therapeutics. 

Here are five more recent updates on coronavirus variants: 

1. A recent report from the U.K. Health Security Agency said AY.4.2 is on an "increasing trajectory" there. As of Oct. 24, the strain accounted for nearly 10 percent of all cases sequenced in the country in the last 28 days. 

2. Researchers are still working to determine whether AY.4.2 is more transmissible. 

3. On Oct. 24, CDC director Rochelle Walensky, MD, told NBC's Meet the Press that the delta relative accounted for a "handful" of cases in the U.S., "but it has not taken off as it has in the U.K."

4. Researchers at LSU Health in Shreveport, La., recently detected B.1.630 — a rare variant — in two samples from Baton Rouge, the academic medical center said Oct. 13. It was the first time the strain had been detected in Louisiana. B.1.630 contains a mutation that may help it escape the immune response and resist antibodies, though it remains rare and had been sequenced just 79 times in the U.S. at the time of the LSU announcement. 

5. The original delta stain, B.1.617.2, is still the predominant strain in the U.S., accounting for 99.5 percent of samples sequenced for the week ending Oct. 23, according to the CDC.


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