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What We Know About the New COVID-19 Strain in England



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Scientists are hurrying to understand why a new strain of the coronavirus that emerged in England in September appears to be spreading far more rapidly than earlier variants.

The early conclusion, according to British scientists, is that the virus has mutated to change the so-called spike protein on the surface of the virus, increasing the protein’s ability to cling onto and enter human cells. These changes allow the mutation, known as N501Y, to spread 70% faster than earlier versions of the virus, early analysis suggests.

Neville Sanjana of the New York Genome Center says there is no evidence to suggest the variant has spread to the U.S.

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