New coronavirus variant identified in New York2021|01:13
A new coronavirus variant is on the rise in New York City and health officials warn it shares some similarities with a more transmissible and intractable one first discovered in South Africa. Columbia University Researchers said the new variant was identified in samples collected in New York back in November, and by mid-February represented about 12% of cases. The same variant was described in research by California Institute of Technology scientists. Neither study has been reviewed by outside experts. According to researchers, the variant contains a mutation that has been shown to greatly reduce the effectiveness of monoclonal and vaccine-induced antibodies. Though studies have shown that recently launched vaccines are still likely to neutralize the virus and protect against severe illness, even for infections with new variants. Still vaccine-makers are taking no chances. Some are working to develop booster shots to combat mutated versions of the virus. Cases and hospitalizations in New York City are well off their peak from last month, mirroring a trend being seen across the country.