(WGHP) – A new form of the COVID-19 delta variant has been found in eight US states, according to CBS News.
It has been named AY.4.2, but is also referred to as “delta plus”. The variation is found in laboratories in the following states:
- North Carolina
- Rhode Island
Health authorities in the District of Columbia have also reported at least one case of AY.4.2.
The new strain is being investigated by health authorities in the UK, who say they have seen a growing amount of cases. A small proportion of COVID cases in the United States over the past few weeks have been linked to delta plus, and U.S. health authorities are working to study it.
“We have teams that are constantly reviewing the genetic sequence data and looking for blips, an increase in a certain percentage or just something that is completely new,” said Dr. Summer Galloway, Executive Secretary of the US Government SARS-CoV-2 Interagency Group.
Delta plus does not cause more serious illness and current vaccines are effective against it.
The delta plus variant is similar to the existing delta variant, except that it has a peak protein mutation called K417N. Spike proteins are external bumps that the virus uses to attach to human cells. The Delta plus mutation is the same as previously identified on the beta variant. According to the Washington Post, some experts believe that delta plus may be even more contagious than the now dominant delta variant, but there is no widespread consensus on that conclusion at present.