Seven new coronavirus variants have popped up in the US since last summer, according to a new study — and scientists worry they may be more contagious.
The new variants — each named after a bird —were detailed in a 25-page medical study published online Sunday, which is yet to be peer-reviewed.
The variants are alike in that each mutates the coronavirus’ 677th amino acid, found on the “spike” that the virus uses to attach itself healthy cells — raising fears that the changes could make them more infectious.
“This stretch of Spike is important because of its proximity to a region key for virulence,” Vaughn Cooper, one of the study’s senior authors and director of the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Evolutionary Biology and Medicine, told CNN.
The mutations have been found by scientists across the country conducting genetic sequencing on positive COVID-19 tests.
“Robin 1,” which “is found in over 30 US states, but predominates