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(CMR) The rapid spread of the coronavirus in California recently could be linked to the state having its own strain of the virus.
Scientists in California believe there is a homegrown strain of the virus in the state, the Los Angeles Times has reported.
Two independent research groups discovered the new strain while looking for the highly transmissible UK variant.
This new strain is said to be in the same family as the UK variant.
Researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre in Los Angeles found that although the strain had not been detectable in early October, it accounted for 24 percent of approximately 4, 500 viral samples collected n the last weeks of 2020, Los Angeles Times reported.
Dr. Eric Vail, a pathologist at Cedars Sinai, said the strain could be responsible for doubling the state’s death toll in the space of less than three months.
Researchers are now trying to determine how much devastation this new variant can produce, its transmissibility, and its reaction to the COVID-19 vaccines.
As of January 25, California has 3,136,158 confirmed cases of COVID-19, resulting in 37,118 deaths. Los Angeles has over 1 million cases and over 15,000 deaths.
The recent surge in cases in California resulted in hospitals reaching their capacities and morgues having to refuse bodies in Los Angeles.