US researchers identify New York City sewage as habitat for unknown COVID variants: Report

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A team of researchers from various US universities have found “cryptic SARS-CoV-2 lineages” in New York City sewage, indicating the emergence of a new variant of COVID-19. On Thursday, February 3, the results were published in the journal Communication Nature. However, the researchers did not clarify the source of the COVID mutations which have not yet been observed in human patients. According to the researchers, Q493K, Q498Y, E484A and T572N are among the mutations found in these lines that are rarely seen in clinical samples. They also noted that these lineages share many mutations with the worrisome Omicron variant.

“Some of these mutations extend the tropism of SARS-CoV-2 pseudoviruses by allowing infection of cells expressing the human, mouse, or rat ACE2 receptor,” the researchers wrote, according to the journal. They further stated that pseudoviruses with the peak amino acid sequence of these lineages were resistant to monoclonal antibodies that neutralize receptor binding domains. The research team’s two main recommendations were that the mutations could come from previously unsampled human COVID-19 infections and that the source could be found in animals infected with the virus.

The locations of the new strains in New York have not been revealed.

According to Michael Lanza, spokesman for the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, specialist physicians have not encountered these mutations in clinical patients, the New York Times reported. Notably, the locations of the new strains in the city have also not been revealed. Earlier in January, US health officials identified sewage systems as a target for future research into the coronavirus and its spread. Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior fellow at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, believes that sewage will be a major indicator of what is happening in a community and what will happen in the future, Sputnik reported.

Biden administration urged to scrap COVID testing for vaccinated travelers

According to the report, sewage monitoring can be particularly difficult due to the fact that sewage may contain information that may be missed in clinical studies, as not all coronavirus cases receive clinical attention. A group of travel and aviation organizations have urged US President Joe Biden’s administration to end the COVID-19 testing requirement for fully vaccinated travelers before boarding a flight to the United States. United. In this regard, they wrote a letter to the White House coronavirus response coordinator, Jeffrey Zients, on February 2. Sputnik reported.

Image: AP/Shutterstock

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