A potentially faster-spreading “sub-lineage” of the coronavirus Delta variant named AY.4.2 has been spotted by labs in at least 8 states, and health authorities in the United Kingdom say they are investigating a growing share of cases from this strain of the virus. Labs in California, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, North Carolina, Rhode Island and Washington state, plus the District of Columbia, have so far spotted at least one case of AY.4.2.While it may spread somewhat faster, health authorities have not found evidence of more severe illness caused by the variant, and they say current vaccines remain effective against it. The sub-lineage has remained a small fraction of circulating cases in the U.S. for several weeks, but American health officials say they are already ramping up efforts to study the new Delta variant descendant. “We have teams that are constantly reviewing the genetic sequence data and looking for blips, an increase in a certain proportion or just something that’s completely new,” says Dr. Summer Galloway, executive secretary of the U.S. government’s SARS-CoV-2 Interagency Group. Galloway, who also serves as policy lead on the CDC’s laboratory and testing task force, said U.S. labs began preparing last month to prioritize tests to assess whether


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