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4 ‘CRYPTIC’ SARS-COV-2 VARIANTS LURK IN NYC SEWERS

Feb 7, 2022

The latest COVID variants have spread like wildfire across the globe in recent months, leading many scientists to wonder when the next variant will appear. The new research may get us one step closer to making that determination.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), viruses such as SARS-CoV-2 can continually evolve by acquiring mutations. Variants, such as Delta or Omicron, may contain one or more mutations within their viral sequence that help to distinguish themselves from other variants of SARS-CoV-2.

The “cryptic” mutations researchers identified in New York City could be linked to possible animal origins, says Marc Johnson, a professor of molecular microbiology and immunology at the University of Missouri and co-corresponding author of the new study in Nature Communications. While these origins have not been verified yet, he believes one possible source could be the rats that frequent New York City’s sewer system.

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