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New COVID-19 variant — R.1 — has some scientists on edge

The variant appears to be more closely related to the original coronavirus strain and originated from Japan.

Updated: September 22, 2021 - 5:19pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Experts have discovered a new COVID-19 variant at a nursing home in Kentucky.

The new R.1 variant has previously unseen characteristics that have some scientists worried, according to Epoch Times,

The variant appears to be more closely related to the original coronavirus strain and originated in Japan. Nearly all the residents at the nursing home in Kentucky were vaccinated, yet the new strain seems to have infected them regardless.

R.1 has now received over 10,000 entries in the GISAID SARS-CoV-2 database, the world's largest for the virus and where researchers go to track and record genomic data.

According to a science writer at Forbes magazine, the new strain may be easier to contract due to protein mutations within the spike protein of the virus.

So far the R.1 variant does not seem more deadly than previous variants, but its ability to be easily transmitted from person to person despite vaccination status does have scientists on edge.