Researchers at Ohio State University on Wednesday said that they have discovered two new strains of COVID-19, adding that the new variants likely originated in the United States.
One of the new variants quickly became dominant in Columbus, Ohio since late December, the researchers said.
“The variant, which has become dominant in Columbus, includes three other gene mutations not previously seen together in SARS-CoV2,” they said in a press release.
Like the strain first detected in the UK, the US mutations appear to make COVID-19 more contagious, the researchers said.
Peter Mohler, Chief Scientific Officer at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center, said there’s no data to indicate that the new strains will impact the effectiveness of vaccines.
“It’s important that we don’t overreact to the new variants until we obtain additional data,” he noted.