COLUMBIA - Researchers at the University of Missouri have identified the highly-prevalent, specific mutations that are causing the omicron variant's high rate of infection.

These new findings help explain why the variant is able to escape antibodies present in the body from vaccination or previous infection, according to a news release.

Professor Kamlendra Singh, from the MU College of Veterinary Medicine, was the principal investigator in the study, along with Hickman High School student Saathvik Kannan, Austin Spratt, an undergraduate student at MU, and Sid Byrareddy of the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

“We know that viruses evolve over time and acquire mutations, so when we first heard of the new omicron variant, we wanted to identify the mutations specific to this variant,” Singh said.

Singh said this study's findings may be helpful in developing treatments for the virus. Understanding the virus better will mean antiviral treatments can be targeted to specific parts of the virus to produce the most effective outcome.

Singh also helped to develop a supplement to help reduce the viral load of a person infected with COVID-19. The supplement is called CoroQuil-Zn. It is currently being used in India and its manufacturer will soon apply for FDA approval in the United States, a news release said.

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