COVID-19 has mutated into a stronger strain. It’s the one you see traveling the globe now. Scientists fear it will mutate again.
Scientists at the Los Alamos National Laboratory say that the new strain showed up in Europe in early February and quickly spread around the globe and into the US, The Hill reports.
It’s possibly more contagious than the original one that emerged in Wuhan last year, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.
The study, which was published last week on the research-sharing site BioRxiv, has yet to be peer-reviewed, but the scientists said they felt an “urgent need for an early warning” so that vaccines being created around the world to combat COVID-19 will be effective against the newer, stronger strain.
Bette Korber, a computational biologist at Los Alamos who led the team, called the discovery “hard news” on her Facebook page.
“We cannot afford to be blindsided as we move vaccines and antibodies into clinical testing,” Krober wrote. “Please be encouraged by knowing the global scientific community is on this, and we are cooperating with each other in ways I have never seen … in my 30 years as a scientist.”
It might not be more deadly, the researchers say.
Oh, that’s encouraging.
In good news, Pfizer is starting vaccine trials.
Pfizer has administered the first U.S. patients with its experimental vaccines to fight the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, part of a bid to shave years off of the typical time it takes to develop a new inoculation.
The trials are being conducted at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine and the University of Maryland’s school of medicine, the drugmaker said Tuesday.
“The short, less than four-month time-frame in which we’ve been able to move from preclinical studies to human testing is extraordinary,” Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla said in a statement.
Israeli Biological Institute also has the beginnings of a vaccine they are seeking a patent.