The strain is different from the one that appeared in Wuhan, China, the city where the coronavirus is believed to originate.
According to the scientific journal, monitoring the frequency of the virus has revealed a prevalence of the dominant strain, labeled G614, which has taken over the prevalence of D614, the original strain.
“The dynamic monitoring of the frequencies of the variants revealed a recurrent pattern of increase in the G614 at several geographic levels: national, regional and municipal. The change has occurred even in local epidemics where the original D614 form was well established before the introduction of the G614 variant, “the scientists wrote in their summary, referring to the two strains.
“The consistency of this model was highly statistically significant, which suggests that the G614 variant could have a fitness advantage,” they continued.
However, scientists cannot agree on the reasoning for the dominance of the new strain – the study researchers suggested that the new strain could be more virulent, while others argued in comments included in the study that dominance may be due to its spread in the United States.
The United States has failed to mitigate its outbreak of new coronavirus infections recently, and it now has more confirmed cases than any other country.
The study researchers added that, although their results may indicate that the new viral strain has a higher transmission rate, there was not yet evidence to suggest that it was a more as severe as the one believed to have been born at the end of last year in Wuhan.
“In infected individuals, G614 is associated with lower RT-PCR cycle thresholds, suggesting a higher upper respiratory tract viral load, but not with increased severity of the disease,” they wrote.
The United States now has more than 2.7 million confirmed cases of the virus and on Thursday set a new record of new cases of coronavirus over a 24-hour period.
Italy, which was hit hard by the virus earlier this year, has largely seen its downward trend in new cases and now reports fewer than 200 a day across the country.