Tip Sheets

‘Not surprising’ new variants of coronavirus continue to emerge

Media Contact

Becka Bowyer

The CDC confirmed a new Delta subtype – ‘AY.4.2.’ – has been identified for the first time in the United States after increasing frequency in the U.K. Health officials say it is still very rare.

Diego Diel

Associate Professor, Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences

Diego Diel, professor of population medicine and diagnostic sciences at Cornell University, says it’s not surprising that new variants of COVID-19 continue to emerge. Dr. Diel is also the director of the virology laboratory, which studies the mutation of the coronavirus in the Finger Lakes and Southern Tier regions.

Diel says:

“This subvariant contains two characteristic mutations in the spike protein (Y145H) and A222V, which are an addition to the classic defining mutations present in the original Delta variant. Currently, there is no information about the effect of these mutations on effectiveness of vaccine elicited immune responses or in the transmissibility of the virus.

“It is also important to note that both mutations in the spike had already been described previously in other SARS-CoV-2 lineages, however they did not become dominant lineages. The A.4.2 subvariant has been identified in the U.S., however the prevalence of these subvariant is still relatively low and was reported to be 0.05% of the total of sequences reported to CDC.

“Given the continuous circulation of SARS-CoV-2 in the population it is not surprising that new subvariants or variants continue to emerge worldwide.”

Cornell University has television, ISDN and dedicated Skype/Google+ Hangout studios available for media interviews.