A mutated variant of Covid first found in California, USA could be 11 times deadlier than the enhanced South Africa strain, a new study claims.

Experts say the California strain infects people with twice the viral load as the original coronavirus from Wuhan, according to a new study from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).

It also leaves people witj a much lower level of immunity from reinfection.

Having a higher viral load makes a patient more contagious, and researchers suggest California Covid spreads at least as quickly as other recent mutations and could be 11 times more fatal, reports The Mirror.

The mutation was found in May last year and began to surge in October.

In the study, due to be posted to medRxiv.org in the coming days, scientists took 2,172 samples of the strain from across the state between September 2020 and January 2021, reports the Daily Mail.

By last month, the US mutation accounted for over half of all genetically analysed Covid samples in that part of the country.

While a scientist working on the UCSF study told the Los Angeles Times it could account for 90 percent of all California’s infections by the end of March.

UCSF professor of laboratory medicine and infectious diseases Dr Charles Chiu also told the newspaper it maybe more transmissible than other strains by up to 24 percent.

People who have overcome the California variant appear to have produced two-fold lower antibodies, the research suggests.

Dr Chiu and his team found an 11-fold higher death rate, however, there were only 12 deaths in the group, meaning it could be a “statistical fluke” and would need to be tested within a bigger pool, experts told the Times.

It should also be noted, that while examples of the variant have been found in other US states, it has only surged in California.

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