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COVID news: ‘Highly infectious’ Californian variant ‘could be more resistant to vaccine’

Researchers have called the strain 'the devil'

News that a new COVID strain is “surging” through California has come with a stark warning.

Scientists have warned that it’s “highly infectious” and, not only that, but the strain is thought to be at least partially resistant to vaccines.

As such, researchers at UC San Francisco have said it should be labelled as a “variant of concern”, much like the Kent strain.

woman with a cold
The Californian variant has been deemed more transmissible than the original virus (Credit: Pexels)

COVID news: What do we know about the variant?

The LA Times has reported that the new variant will probably account for 90% of all cases in the state by next month.

When speaking about the strain, Charles Chiu, an infectious disease researcher at the university, also remarked: “The devil is already here.”

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He added: “I wish it were different. But the science is the science.”

The devil is already here. I wish it were different. But the science is the science.

The strain most likely emerged back in May.

However, it has now become the most dominant strain.

It is called B.1.427/B.1.429.

person getting vaccine
The diminished potency of the vaccines is ‘moderate but significant’ with the new strain (Credit: Pexels)

Will vaccines work against it?

Research suggests that it spreads more readily than the original virus.

It’s thought to be between 19% and 24% more transmissible.

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Not only that, it can evade antibodies generated by vaccines and prior COVID infection.

Lab studies showed that it was found to be four times less susceptible and the original visit to neutralising antibodies from the blood of COVID patients.

It is also two times less susceptible to antibodies in the blood of people vaccinated with the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.

It’s said the diminished potency of the vaccines is “moderate but significant”.

The new Californian variant has also been linked to severe illness and death.

person wearing face mask
The new variant has been called the ‘devil’ by researchers (Credit: Pexels)

Survival of the fittest ‘contest’

There are also fears that the new strain could enter into a “survival-of-the-fittest contest”.

This could happen should someone become infected with both the Kent and Californian strain as it could allow the virus to mutate further.

This “could accelerate the spread of the strain that’s best able to elude the effects of COVID-19 vaccines”, scientists said.

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