A new “double mutant” variant of the coronavirus has been discovered in California — as scientists worry the strain could be more infectious.
The Stanford Clinical Virology Lab identified and confirmed one case of the variant — which first emerged in India — in the Bay Area, Stanford Health Care spokesperson Lisa Kim told the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday.
Seven other presumptive cases are also being screened by Stanford.
The emerging strain is called the “double mutant” because it carries two mutations in the virus that helps it latch itself onto cells, the news outlet reported.
The “double mutant” variant has been found in 20 percent of cases sequenced from India’s hard-hit state of Maharashtra where coronavirus cases have recently surged more than 50 percent in the past week, Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, an infectious disease expert at the University of California, San Francisco noted.
It is not yet known whether this new COVID-19 variant is more infectious or resistant