Mutant, more contagious coronavirus strain has emerged, scientists say

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SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – A new strain of the novel coronavirus that appears to be even more contagious than the original strain spread in the early days of the pandemic has become more dominant worldwide, the Los Angeles Times reports, citing a new study.

The 33-page report published on bioRxiv, a website that researchers use to share their work before it is peer-reviewed, was led by a team of scientists at Los Alamos Research Laboratory.

According to the report, the new strain first emerged in February in Europe, then migrated quickly to the East Coast.

Scientists said the new strain is now dominant around the world and has been that way since mid-March.

Scientists warn this new strain spreads faster and may make people more vulnerable to a second infection after a first bout with the disease.

The Times reports the study was published recently in an effort to expedite collaborations with scientists who are working on vaccines and/or treatments for COVID-19.

Last week, the FDA approved the emergency use of remdesivir, an anti-viral drug that is being tested to treat patients with COVID-19.

Scientists say a vaccine for the coronavirus is probably a year or more away.

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