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Unique form of COVID found in Northern Nevada

Published: Nov. 20, 2020 at 4:38 PM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Some interesting results are emerging from a research project KOLO 8 News Now first brought forth last May.

Researchers up at UNR were sequencing the virus in patients who tested positive to COVID in Nevada.

Dr. Paul Hartley from the Nevada Genomics Center was helping break down samples and plot the RNA of COVID found in patients who had tested positive to the virus.

At the time 76 samples had been processed. By the end of June researchers had tested 200 samples from patients throughout Nevada.

Researchers with the Center for Molecular Medicine hoped to better understand what kind of COVID was in Nevada and if there was only one virus. They discovered both

“This virus matches mostly to the European strain, most of the strain we have also seen in New York and Washington. or California,” says Dr. Subhash Verma, an Associate Professor at University of Nevada Reno School of Medicine in Microbiology and Immunology. “But one big difference of what we saw here was 50% of the variant we picked up here is unique to Northern Nevada. Northern Nevada somehow has a unique mutation which is in one of the proteins which makes the virus replicate,” says Dr. Verma.

The sequenced results were deposited into an international data base.

The uniqueness of the virus here in Northern Nevada is interesting in that it may indicate the shelter in place worked and that residents were spreading the virus just within Northern Nevada.

The mutated COVID virus has only been found in one other patient out of the area.

He’s living in Idaho.

KOLO 8 News Now will soon file a report on what this all means to COVID vaccines currently being introduced in the United States.

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