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Bay Area researchers study California's COVID-19 variant with fears the virus will continue to mutate

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SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- On Dec. 31, UCSF'S Dr. Charles Chiu and his colleagues were in a lab when they found what they are calling"L-452R," a California variant of COVID-19.


"We actually discovered this variant incidentally while doing genomic surveillance specifically looking for the variant that emerged from the United Kingdom. In the process for the screening of the variant we did note that we saw cases of this variant in California," said Dr. Charles Chiu, Director of UCSF's Abbott Viral Diagnostics and Discovery Center.

Immediately after his discovery, Dr. Chiu alerted the state's health department.

"The initial case of it appears to have emerged from California in July. It was really at the baseline levels until about a month ago perhaps mid-late November when we started to see increase in cases of the variant," said Dr. Chiu.


RELATED: Health officials identify COVID-19 variant linked to several large outbreaks in Santa Clara Co.

Currently, multiple cases of this variant have been spotted across the state.

"The variant had increased from a portion of less than 5% to more than 25%. A quarter of cases," said Dr. Chiu.

The variant found in the UK is spreading between 30% and 70% faster than others. Dr. Chiu says they're still studying the CA variant and its transmission rate, and hopes his findings push for a scientific surveillance system to catch these variants faster.


"We do not have an organized systematic and robust genomic surveillance system," and Dr. Chiu added, "This is what we really need because we need to determine and have a rigorous system, a surveillance system by which we can identify by what percentage of these strains in our community maybe these variances of concern."


WATCH: COVID-19 cases are down in SF, but doctors fear new variant could cause surge any day
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COVID-19 cases are going down in San Francisco, but doctors are not letting their guard down. There is concern as new variants of the virus have been spotted across the globe, causing a deadly spread.


Luz Pena

: "Do you project that as the virus continues to mutate, those vaccines will also have to change?"


Dr. Chiu:

"There will potentially be an emergence of variance that will require the vaccine to be modified and perhaps a new vaccine will have to be created and tested for use against these new variances."


Luz Pena:

"How would you compare the variant that was found here in California to the one found in the U.K.?"


Dr. Chiu:

"The variant in the UK has a specific mutation called N501Y. This is a mutation that is thought to be the critical mutation that makes that variant more transmissible and more infectious.


RELATED: Stanford researchers launch large-scale surveillance for COVID-19 variants

The variant in California has a total of 3 mutations in the spike protein. One of them is a different mutation than the one in the U.K."

As Dr. Chiu and his team continue to gather data they are concerned as the virus continues to mutate.

"Our worry is that what fuels and propagates this variance is really the increasing numbers of cases. Because with every additional case the virus has an additional opportunity to mutate into a new variant," said Dr. Chiu.


According to Dr. Chiu at least 10 counties in California have reported cases of the CA variant his team found.

Dr. Chiu says the most effective way to stop this mutation is to vaccinate as many people as possible and fast.


If you have a question or comment about the coronavirus pandemic, submit yours via the form below or here.Get the latest news, information and videos about the novel coronavirus pandemic here
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1:44 PM 1/25/2021 - Multiple variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 have been documented … It has since been detected in numerous countries around the world

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1:44 PM 1/25/2021 - Multiple variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 have been documented … It has since been detected in numerous countries around the world

 The Brooklyn News

 
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10:58 AM 1/25/2021 – Three southern BK nabes lead city in COVID positivity rates

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  1. Capitol riot: Updated list of arrests in New York State (photos) – http://syracuse.com  posted at 15:09:44 UTC https://brooklynnewsandtimes.blogspot.com/2021/01/capitol-riot-updated-list-of-arrests-in.html 

     

Jan 15, 2021 — Multiple variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 have been documented … It has since been detected in numerous countries around the world, …

Covid-19 variants and strains in the World – Google Search https://www.google.com/search?q=Covid-19+variants+and+strains+in+the+World&source=lmns&bih=762&biw=1474&rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS733US733&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjd4pWdobfuAhWMGd8KHTUtB3QQ_AUoAHoECAEQAA 

 

 Michael Novakhov Retweeted

So the question is not how many people have been vaccinated now but how many people were vaccinated as of say 3-4 weeks ago. And very few were in the US. In Israel, which got off to a much faster start, you arguably (there are some confounders) are seeing an impact already.

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10:58 AM 1/25/2021 - Three southern BK nabes lead city in COVID positivity rates

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10:58 AM 1/25/2021 - Three southern BK nabes lead city in COVID positivity rates

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  1. Jan 15, 2021 — Multiple variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 have been documented ... It has since been detected in numerous countries around the world, ...
    -
    Covid-19 variants and strains in the World - Google Search https://www.google.com/search?q=Covid-19+variants+and+strains+in+the+World&source=lmns&bih=762&biw=1474&rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS733US733&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjd4pWdobfuAhWMGd8KHTUtB3QQ_AUoAHoECAEQAA 

    •  
  2.  Michael Novakhov Retweeted

    So the question is not how many people have been vaccinated now but how many people were vaccinated as of say 3-4 weeks ago. And very few were in the US. In Israel, which got off to a much faster start, you arguably (there are some confounders) are seeing an impact already.

    •  
  3.  Michael Novakhov Retweeted

    p.s. Is the US data starting to show any impact from vaccines? I doubt that. Per Israeli data, vaccines take ~2+ weeks to become substantially effective and then there are the usual lags beyond that (e.g. between development of symptoms and test results showing up in the data).

    •  
  4.  Michael Novakhov Retweeted

    New cases and hospitalizations are starting to fall pretty quickly in the US. Seems to be a lot of fatalism that new strains will cause a 4th (?) wave. Not necessarily true if we can vaccinate people fast enough and keep other sensible measures in place.https://covidtracking.com/data 

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11:37 AM 1/25/2021 - Queens Arson Suspect Arrested | Beware COVID vaccine scams: What to look for | NYC Mayor De Blasio Holds Daily Briefing | NY Gov. Cuomo Holds News Conference

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11:37 AM 1/25/2021 - Queens Arson Suspect Arrested | Beware COVID vaccine scams: What to look for | NYC Mayor De Blasio Holds Daily Briefing | NY Gov. Cuomo Holds News Conference 

A New Jersey man has been arrested on federal arson charges for allegedly starting a fire at a Queens restaurant.


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11:59 AM 1/25/2021 - French Pasteur Institute abandon Covid-19 vaccine development after phase 1 trials fail

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11:59 AM 1/25/2021 - French Pasteur Institute abandon Covid-19 vaccine development after phase 1 trials fail

French Pasteur Institute abandon Covid-19 vaccine development after phase 1 trials fail

France’s Pasteur Institute announced on Monday that it is ending the development of its Covid-19 vaccine after trial results proved disappointing. It appears that the vaccine failed to prove its efficacy in phase 1 trials. “The phase 1 of their trial that started in August. Although the vaccine was well tolerated by people, it seems like it didn’t spark sufficient immune system response”, FRANCE 24’s Julia Sieger reports.

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In ambulances, an unseen, unwelcome passenger: COVID-19 – AP | The Brooklyn News - bklynnews.com

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In ambulances, an unseen, unwelcome passenger: COVID-19 – AP | The Brooklyn News - bklynnews.com

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The Brooklyn News - <a href="http://bklynnews.com" rel="nofollow">bklynnews.com</a> | Audio Posts in English | World Radio Stations


CBS2’s Elise Finch has the latest weather forecast.

A report of a carjacking led to a police-involved shooting overnight in Queens. It happened after officers tracked down the vehicle and confronted the men inside. CBS2’s John Dias reports from Jamaica.

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