Illinois researchers identify new variant, say it accounts for half of all US cases

Researchers at Southern Illinois University Carbondale have discovered a new variant of the coronavirus that originated in and is widespread across the U.S., reports The Southern Illinoisan.

Keith Gagnon, PhD, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry at SIU, said the lab has uncovered a U.S.-specific coronavirus variant that accounts for about half of the cases in the nation. The findings are detailed in "Emergence and Evolution of a Prevalent New SARS-CoV-2 Variant in the United States," which was submitted Jan. 11 to BioRxiv, a preprint server. 

The lab traced the earliest appearance of the U.S. variant to Texas in May. Since then, the variant, referred to as 20C-US, has acquired two new mutations in the spike protein that demonstrates ongoing evolution, Dr. Gagnon told The Southern Illinoisan.


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