A new coronavirus variant is on the rise in New York City, researchers said on Wednesday. The new variant, known as B.1.526, was first identified in samples collected in New York in November, and by mid-February represented about 12% of cases, researchers at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, said on Wednesday.
The variant was also described in research published online this week by the California Institute of Technology. Neither study has been reviewed by outside experts. It shares some similarities with a more transmissible and intractable variant discovered in South Africa.
The Columbia researchers said an analysis of publicly available databases did not show a high prevalence of coronavirus variants recently identified in South Africa and Brazil in case samples from New York City and surrounding areas. “Instead we found high numbers of this home-grown lineage,” Dr. Anne-Catrin Uhlemann, assistant professor in the division of infectious diseases at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, said in a statement.
Meanwhile, China is moving ahead with two more Covid vaccines in the regulatory process, one from state-owned company Sinopharm and another from a private company CanSino, AP reports. Both vaccines have submitted been to regulators for approval this week.
CanSino said that Chinese regulators are reviewing its application for its Covid vaccine, in a stock filing on Wednesday. Sinopharm’s subsidiary the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products announced Wednesday that it had submitted an application Sunday and that regulators were reviewing it.