During recent months, several new COVID strains have emerged, particularly originating from the UK and South Africa, making the coronavirus infection more contagious and prompting new concerns about vaccine efficacy and restrictions in many countries.

Scientists have discovered a number of new coronavirus lineages that seem to be subject to a similar mutation in the United States, according to a study published on Sunday, Reuters reported.

The research team has indicated seven lineages that all gained a mutation in the same spot in their genes, sparking concerns as to whether the mutation can affect the level of contagiousness of the coronavirus.

There is no clear evidence that the mutation may affect the way COVID-19 is spread among people, but Jeremy Kamil, a virologist at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center and a co-author of the new study, suggests, cited by The New York Times, that “there’s clearly something going on with this mutation.”

Suggestions were also voiced that the mutation could affect the way the virus enters human cells, although researchers have outlined that additional experimental data is needed.

During recent months, several new strains of coronavirus were detected around the world, particularly from the United Kingdom and South Africa, known to be more contagious.

While it is not ultimately clear what impact the new variants will have on the pandemic, Russian consumer rights watchdog Rospotrebnadzor on Sunday announced that a first-ever testing system for the UK variant has been registered in the country.

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