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Southern California COVID-19 Strain Is Now In Different Parts Of The US, World

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A healthcare worker hands a patient a COVID-19 testing kit at a drive-thru testing site at The Forum. (Courtesy of the County of Los Angeles)
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A strain of COVID-19 that was first reported here in Los Angeles has been detected in other parts of the country and around the world, according to new research from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

The study found the variant in 19 states, Washington, D.C., and six countries. Researchers say it appears travelers from Southern California are carrying the virus to all those destinations.

Researchers say this strain, CAL.20C, was first seen in L.A. last July and re-emerged in October in other parts of our region and then quickly began spreading in November and December.

"CAL.20C is moving, and we think it is Californians who are moving it," said the study's co-senior author, Jasmine Plummer, a research scientist at the Cedars-Sinai Center for Bioinformatics and Functional Genomics.

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According to the Cedars-Sinai research, the strain now accounts for about 44% of new infections in Southern California.

Plummer said it's not clear whether CAL.20C might be more deadly than current coronavirus strains or whether it might resist current vaccines.

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