Scientist Find COVID-19 “Variant of Concern” in Oregon

Scientists discovered a variant similar to the highly contagious U.K. COVID-19 strain in Oregon last Friday.

On March 5, the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) found a case of COVID-19 that emulated the U.K. variant but had an additional mutation that could cause the current COVID-19 vaccine to become less effective.

The same genetic mutation, called E484K or “Eek”, appeared in the Brazilian and South African variants and was labeled a “variant of concern” by scientists.

OHSU geneticist Brian O’Roak confirmed the Oregon strain originated in the U.S. stating, “We didn’t import this from elsewhere in the world—it occurred spontaneously.”

Therefore, because the case occurred spontaneously, scientists believe there is more than one case of this variant in the country. Dr. Anthony Fauci has warned the public that the highly contagious variants surrounding the U.S. could cause another surge. However, there is some debate about why the surge has not occurred already, or if it ever will.

Senior Genomics Scientist, Stacia Wyman said, “People need to not freak out but continue to be vigilant. We can’t let down our guard yet while there’s still these more transmissible variants circulating.”

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