When Houston was gripped by a severe Covid-19 wave in June, a mutated form of coronavirus that developed elsewhere in the world and which is known to be especially contagious grew to eventually dominate the city’s infected patients, according to a study released Wednesday that could raise new questions about how quickly the virus evolved as it spread around the world.
The study, which was not peer-reviewed and was first reported by the Washington Post, looked at virus samples from two different Covid-19 waves in the Houston area over the spring and summer.
Many different strains of the virus entered Houston initially, but when the city moved from a small initial wave in March to a much larger outbreak in late June, almost every coronavirus sample contained a particular mutation on the virus’ surface that had previously been found in cases in Europe.
Patients with that strain of coronavirus carried more virus particles than other people, meaning they were probably more infectious, the study found.
Researchers say the rise of this contagious strain of the virus may have driven up the infection rate in the Houston area, which jumped from an average of around 200 new Covid-19 cases per day to more than 2,400.
The mutation did not appear to make the virus more dangerous or change patients’ outcomes, according to the study.
A similar study from earlier this month found evidence that the United Kingdom was also overtaken by the same virus strain over the spring.
Read more ….
Coronavirus continuing to mutate, study finds, as US cases rise — The Guardian
Massive genetic study shows coronavirus mutating and potentially evolving amid rapid U.S. spread — Boston.com
New Study Shows COVID-19 Mutating in the U.S. — Complex
Almost ALL Houston residents who have caught the virus in the second wave have a more infectious strain, study finds — Daily Mail
One Sure Sign You’ve Caught the New Strain of Coronavirus — Yahoo News
Study Finds the Coronavirus Mutated to Become More Contagious. Should You Worry? — Prevention