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COVID: how worried should we be about the new AY.4.2 lineage of the coronavirus?

By Matthew Bashton, Senior Fellow in Computational Biology, Northumbria University, Newcastle
Darren Smith, Professor of Bacteriophage Biology, Northumbria University, Newcastle
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No sooner than you thought all the talk of new COVID variants was over, there’s news of yet another one: AY.4.2. But what is it, where did it come from, and should we be concerned?

AY.4.2 is what’s termed a “lineage”. These are labels given to branches of the COVID evolutionary tree to illustrate their relatedness. They are overseen by the diligent Pango network, a joint team of researchers from the universities of Edinburgh and Oxford, who act as the custodians of lineages and handle the assignment of new ones.

If…


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