New COVID-19 variant in US contains traces of delta

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A new, possibly more dangerous COVID-19 variant has made its way to the United States, and scientists say it may soon take hold and add to a surge in COVID-19 cases. 

It’s called R.1. The mutation was initially detected in Japan yet quickly spread to other parts of the world including the United States. It first landed in Indiana’s neighboring state of Kentucky. 

Now, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it has been identified in 47 states.

What’s most troubling about R.1, scientists say, is that it has traces of the delta variant.

News 8 spoke with Dr. Christopher Doehring, vice president of medical affairs, who explains how this variant emerged.  “These viruses replicate over and over again and you just think of these variants as being a new generation…. They tend to keep replicating the same virus.

“But occasionally the genetic mutation and genetic structure will change, and if that changes, it gives an advantage to know that new strain or that substrain and that will become the predominant one.”

Currently, Doehring says, there is no evidence to support R.1 evades vaccination. 

However, while not officially on the CDC’s list of variants of interest or concern, scientists say this is one variant is one we’re going to want to pay attention to.


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