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There’s a New York COVID-19 variant, too

Researchers said there’s a new COVID-19 variant from New York City. Here are the details

In this Feb. 7, 2021, file photo, two people enter a New York City vaccine hub during a snowstorm in New York.
In this Feb. 7, 2021, file photo, two people enter a New York City vaccine hub during a snowstorm in New York. Researchers said there’s a new COVID-19 variant from New York City.
Associated Press

There’s a new form of the novel coronavirus circulating through New York City, and it might impact the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine, The New York Times reports.

What’s going on?

Researchers said the New York variant — titled B.1.526 — has impacted diverse neighborhoods in New York City, according to CNN.

  • The variant is reportedly “scattered in the Northeast,” per CNN.

Per The New York Times, the New York City variant first appeared in November 2020. By the middle of November, the variant accounted for 1 in 4 cases.

The findings come from two separate studies — one published online by Caltech, the other published privately and not made public.

  • Neither of the studies has been peer-reviewed or published in a scientific journal, though, according to The New York Times. Experts insist the variant is real, though.

Why are experts worried?

Experts are worried that variants continue to pop up. But there’s also concern that this COVID-19 variant is actually evading the coronavirus vaccine, according to The New York Times.

  • “It’s not particularly happy news,” Michel Nussenzweig, an immunologist at Rockefeller University, told The New York Times. “But just knowing about it is good because then we can perhaps do something about it.”

Kristian Andersen, a virologist at the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego, told Fox News:

  • “Given the involvement of E484K or S477N, combined with the fact that the New York region has a lot of standing immunity from the spring wave, this is definitely one to watch.”

Bigger picture

The New York variant is only one of several new mutations popping up across the world. Variants found in the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil have made the headlines. The California coronavirus variant has also been spreading increasingly fast across the country, as I wrote for the Deseret News.