The Stanford Clinical Virology Lab, through genomic sequencing, has identified and confirmed one case of the emerging variant, which originated in India, according to a spokesperson for Stanford Health Care on Sunday. At least seven presumed cases of the Indian variant were also found.
The variant is being labeled as the "double mutant" because it carries two mutations in the virus that helps it latch onto cells, reports said.
"If you are in an elevator with someone that is infected with the variant you are more likely to be infected by that variant," said Stanford Clinical Virology Lab Director, Dr. Ben Pinsky, according to FOX 2 of the San Francisco Bay Area.
UCSF's Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, an infectious disease expert, called the variant "less forgiving."
He noted that the variant could be more infectious because it accounts for 20% of cases in the hard-hit Indian state of Maharashtra. Cases there have increased 50% within the last week, he said.
It also makes sense that it will be more transmissible from a biological perspective as the two mutations act at the receptor-binding domain of the virus, but there have been no official transmission studies to date," he told the San Francisco Chronicle.
Earlier, on April 2 it was reported that a new dangerous strain of a coronavirus capable to give 40 mutations was found in the territory of Africa. A new strain of SARS-CoV-2 virus was first diagnosed in Tanzanians who came to Angola.