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Heavily infected strain COVID, unknowingly distributed in 15 countries – study

A new study has found that a previously undiscovered strain of coronavirus has spread to 15 countries, including the United States, unknowingly for months, according to a study published in the Journal of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Emerging infectious diseases.
The collaboration of the study includes: WHO Collaborating Center for Epidemiology and Control of Infectious Diseases, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China; Health Data Discovery Laboratory, Hong Kong; University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK; University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, USA; Santa Fe Institute, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA. The researchers found that the variant first appeared in the United Kingdom in early December 2020, later spreading to the United States, Ireland, France, Greece, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Romania, Poland, Turkey , Cyprus, Portugal and India.
“By the time we learned about the option in the UK in December, it was already spreading silently around the world,”
; said Lauren Ansel Myers, director of the COVID-19 Modeling Consortium at the University of Texas at Austin and a professor of integrative biology. , in a statement to UT News.

“We believe that the B117 variant probably arrived in the United States by October 2020, two months before we realized it existed,” she added.

Regarding the impact of the study, Myers said, “This study emphasizes the importance of laboratory monitoring.”

“The rapid and extensive sequencing of viral samples is crucial for the early detection and tracking of new variants of concern,” she noted.

Along with the paper, the consortium has developed a genetic sequencing tool to help further detect other variants of the coronavirus, which will help in the monitoring effort.

“Healthcare professionals are looking for better ways to deal with the unpredictability of this virus and its future variants,” Spencer Woody, a postdoctoral fellow at UT COVID-19 Modeling Consortium, told UT News. “Our new calculator determines how many positive samples of SARS-CoV-2 should be sequenced to ensure that new threats are identified as soon as they begin to spread.”

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