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Why Viruses Mutate: Breaking Down The New Coronavirus Variant

The image depicts the coronavirus binding to a human cell. The variant identified in the United Kingdom has a mutation known to increase how tightly the virus binds to human cells.
Kateryna Kon
/
Science Photo Library via Getty Images
The image depicts the coronavirus binding to a human cell. The variant identified in the United Kingdom has a mutation known to increase how tightly the virus binds to human cells.

With new variant in the coronavirus cropping up in several states, we take a look at how viruses mutate and how those mutations can make the coronavirus more contagious.

Copyright 2021 NPR

Michaeleen Doucleff, PhD, is a correspondent for NPR's Science Desk. For nearly a decade, she has been reporting for the radio and the web for NPR's global health outlet, Goats and Soda. Doucleff focuses on disease outbreaks, cross-cultural parenting, and women and children's health.