Two new variants of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus have been found in Ohio, with one dubbed the “Columbus strain” as scientists believe it became the dominant form in the city late last year.
The Columbus strain, named COH.20G/501Y, has three mutations not seen before, according to scientists at The Ohio State University (OSU) Wexner Medical Center and College of Medicine. It appears to have become the most widespread form of COVID in the city in the three weeks between late December 2020 and January 2021, according to a news release.
Dr. Dan Jones, vice chair of the division of molecular pathology at OSU who led the study, said in a statement: “This new Columbus strain has the same genetic backbone as earlier cases we’ve studied, but these three mutations represent a significant evolution. We know this shift didn’t come from the U.K. or South African branches of the virus.”