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Yale doctor weighs in on new report showing 2 COVID variants have merged into ‘heavily-mutated hybrid’ virus

Coronavirus

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — A new scientific discovery as Connecticut and the world battles COVID-19. New Scientist is reporting exclusively that two variants appear to have combined in a “heavily mutated hybrid.” It is something called a recombination.

“This was detected in a laboratory through sequencing and identifying and it looked like the virus had two different components of two different variants a signature mutation.”

Yale Medicine Infectious Disease Specialist Onyema Ogbuagu

The report states that the discovery was made in a lab in New Mexico, the patient is in California.

The recombination is reported to be between the highly transmissible UK variant and one from California, which is resistant to antibodies.

If confirmed it would be the first hybrid variant, detected. The research saying people could be infected with two different variants at once.

“We need to really speed up our efforts to vaccinate people and get to the point where we can decrease the circulating virus in the community,” said Dr. Ogbuagu.

He said unless the virus is diminished it will continue to mutate and could become more transmissible and possibly evade treatments.

Dr. Ogbuagu said we are seeing positive things. He said messenger RNA vaccines like those from Pfizer and Moderna are easy to tweak for variants, and current vaccines work against the variant strains from the UK as well as South Africa.

And he points out that our genetic sequencing to detect and track variant strains nationwide and in Connecticut is improving.

“We had kind of lagged behind in genetic sequencing and I think since the variants have emerged we’ve stepped up our game in regards to being able to detect new variants as they occur.”

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