Biologists from Israel said they have identified a new strain of coronavirus.
The P681H strain began to occur in patient biofluid samples around November 2020, but traces of its existence can be found in wastewater samples collected back in October.
It also clarifies that this mutation, presumably, contributes to the acceleration of the spread of the new type of coronavirus, while not making it more resistant to antibodies.
Analyzing samples from different cities in Israel that were collected between August 2020 and January 2021, scientists noticed that they contained an unusually large number of fragments of the genome of a new type of coronavirus with the same mutation, P681H.
Neta Zuckerman of the Israeli Ministry of Health’s Central Virology Laboratory, along with a team of scientists, suggested that P681H makes the virus more infectious. Therefore, biologists wondered how much this mutation is common among the inhabitants of Israel.
According to Zuckerman and her colleagues, the new mutation has not yet affected the number of infections or the frequency of hospitalizations of its carriers. The authors of the new work continue to observe the new strain.