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"This new Columbus strain has the same genetic backbone as earlier cases we’ve studied, but these three mutations represent a significant evolution," said Dr. Dan Jones, vice-chair of the division of molecular pathology and lead study author, in a statement. "We know this shift didn’t come from the U.K. or South African branches of the virus." 6park.comThe Columbus variant has been named COH.20G/501Y, they said. 6park.comThe findings were published as pre-print server BioRxiv and have not yet been peer-reviewed. 6park.comResearchers at the medical center identified the new strains by sequencing the genome of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which they have been doing since the start of the pandemic in an effort to keep tabs on the "evolution of the virus," they said. 6park.com"Like the U.K. strain, mutations detected in both viruses affect the spikes that stud the surface of SARS-Cov-2. The spikes enable the virus to attach to and enter human cells. Like the U.K. strain, the mutations in the Columbus strain are likely to make the virus more infectious, making it easier for the virus to pass from person to person," according to university researchers. 6park.comExperts expressed concerns that the mutations could effect the efficacy of existing COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics. However, "we have no data to believe that these mutations will have any impact on the effectiveness of vaccines now in use," said Peter Mohler, a co-author of the study and chief scientific officer at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center and vice dean for research at the College of Medicine, in a statement.
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