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Reditus CEO: Mutation Found In Illinois Samples Likely A Variant Of UK Strain

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

A coronavirus mutation detected recently by Pekin's Reditus Laboratories is not quite identical to one commonly linked to the United Kingdom.

Last week, Reditus announced its detection of a mutation known as V70X in testing performed on two specimens collected in DuPage County, believed to be the first confirmed cases in Illinois. Twelve other cases of coronavirus mutation have been confirmed across the U.S.

But how the Illinois strains differ from others like the UK and South African variants isn’t entirely clear.

“This is where all the cloudiness comes in because it's so new,” said Dr. Aaron Rossi, Reditus CEO. “The University of Arizona put out a study saying it's ‘a suggested variant of the UK variant,’ but right now it’s not confirmed. They haven't given it an official name yet, and research is still ongoing on the severity of the variant and what potential side effects or issues come with that.”

Noting initial studies show the variants spread more easily, Rossi said it’s too soon to tell if they might be resilient to the COVID-19 vaccines. 

“The concern is definitely how contagious they are,” he said. “It’s been confirmed that the UK variant and the South African variant are 70% more contagious than the current strains of the coronavirus. Then obviously, I think we're still waiting to see if the vaccine is effective.”

Rossi said Reditus detected the mutation in collaboration with the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. He said that as of yet, the variant has not been found in any samples collected in central Illinois.

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Joe Deacon is a reporter at WCBU.