The country’s top infectious disease expert said Thursday that a more infectious strain of the coronavirus may be emerging.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, made the claim Thursday in an interview with The Journal of the American Medical Association.
Fauci said research suggests Italy was devastated by a different strain of the coronavirus than the one that originated in Wuhan, China.
The main difference between the two, Fauci said, is that Italy’s version passes from person to person more effectively, making it even more difficult to contain.
“It just seems that the virus replicates better and may be more transmissible,” says Fauci.
The study he references, which was released by researchers affiliated with the Sheffield COVID-19 Genomics Group, states that the new strain “has become the most prevalent form in the global pandemic.”
However, the researchers also found no evidence that this new strain causes worse symptoms than the original.
As of Thursday, The United States had more than 2.7 million confirmed cases, the highest in the world.