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coronavirus variant

The numerals in the illustration show the main mutation sites of the B.1.1.7 variant first detected in the U.K., which is more transmissible than other variants. Here, the virus's spike protein (red) is bound to a human cell (blue). Juan Gaertner/Science Source hide caption

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Juan Gaertner/Science Source

Is The Variant From India The Most Contagious Coronavirus Mutant On The Planet?

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Vaccine makers are moving to test booster shots, prompted by new coronavirus variants that have sprung up in South Africa, the U.K. and elsewhere. Mark Felix/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Mark Felix/AFP via Getty Images

German Chancellor Angela Merkel addresses the Bundestag in Berlin on the German government's measures against COVID-19 on Thursday. Anadolu Agency/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images hide caption

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Anadolu Agency/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

An illustration of the variant found in the United Kingdom. To infect a cell, the virus's spike protein (red) has to bind to a receptor on the cell's surface (blue). Mutations help the virus bind more tightly. Science Source hide caption

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Science Source

Extraordinary Patient Offers Surprising Clues To Origins Of Coronavirus Variants

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Indigenous health care workers treat patients last week at a campaign hospital set up in the Parque das Tribos neighborhood of Manaus, Brazil. Oxygen shortages at hospitals in Brazil's Amazon prompted authorities to airlift patients to other states. Jonne Roriz/Bloomberg via Getty Images hide caption

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Jonne Roriz/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A coronavirus variant that is thought to be more contagious was detected in the United States in Elbert County, Colo., not far from this testing site in Parker, Colo. The variant has been detected in several U.S. states. Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images hide caption

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Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images