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Found in Colorado

The first case of the SARS-CoV-2 strain that is suspected to be more infectious has been identified in the US, the New York Times reports.

Earlier this month, heath officials in the UK noticed a new viral strain — called B.1.1.7 — that appeared to spread more easily. A new preprint further suggests that the strain may be 56 percent more transmissible, though, as the Times notes, there is no evidence the strain leads to more severe disease. 

The B.1.1.7 strain had since been detected in Australia, Canada, and South Korea, and now has been found in Colorado, the Washington Post reports. The Times notes that the strain may not have arisen in the UK, but was first detected there as it has a SARS-CoV-2 sequencing program in place. It adds that the earliest B.1.1.7 strain uncovered in the UK was from September, suggesting it likely had already spread between countries. 

As the strain has been found in a Colorado man with no history of travel, it suggests the strain may be well established in the US, the Times adds.

The Post further notes, though, that there is a dearth of viral genome data from the US. "The lack of virus sequencing and case tracking in the USA is a scandal," Jeremy Luban, a virologist at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, tells it.

The Scan

More Boosters for US

Following US Food and Drug Administration authorization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has endorsed booster doses of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, the Washington Post writes.

From a Pig

A genetically modified pig kidney was transplanted into a human without triggering an immune response, Reuters reports.

For Privacy's Sake

Wired reports that more US states are passing genetic privacy laws.

Science Paper on How Poaching Drove Evolution in African Elephants

In Science this week: poaching has led to the rapid evolution of tuskless African elephants.