The Nebraska Public Health Lab has detected new COVID-19 mutations. The lab's assistant director Baha Abdalhamid said the mutations are not concerning and it's a good sign for the future.  "We detected unique mutations that we believe might attenuate the virus, makes it weaker to establish the infection," Abdalhamid said. Recently, scientists were able to detect new COVID-19 mutations in seven nursing home patients.  "We detected high viral concentration in the specimen of those patients, however the patients were asymptomatic," Abdalhamid said.  Abdalhamid said the new mutations might weaken the virus and make it harder for infection. "It was very interesting to understand this risky group who are in nursing homes, like why don't they have severe disease of the virus? Even though they are high risk group," Abdalhamid said.  "That's the good thing in this story that maybe the virus is losing its ability to cause as severe of disease," lab director Peter Iwen said. Iwen said it's opposite of the variants, like the UK and South African strains that have surfaced in the U.S.  "Which is in contrary to the story we're hearing about the variants of concern which are actually causing more diseases," Iwen said. Looking to the future, the lab is attempting to sequence all positive coronavirus samples in the state.  "We will use that data to not only look for variants of concern, but other variants that might appear," Iwen said. The lab's using the Clear DX GridION Nanopore Sequencer and it was the first lab in the nation to use it. "This technology has a lot of good use passed just the COVID discussion we are having now," Iwen said.  Iwen hopes this new technology will also be used to look at the influenza virus in the fall.  
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                <strong class="dateline">OMAHA, Neb. —</strong>                                             <p>The Nebraska Public Health Lab has detected new COVID-19 mutations. The lab's assistant director Baha Abdalhamid said the mutations are not concerning and it's a good sign for the future.  

“We detected unique mutations that we believe might attenuate the virus, makes it weaker to establish the infection,” Abdalhamid said.

Recently, scientists were able to detect new COVID-19 mutations in seven nursing home patients.

“We detected high viral concentration in the specimen of those patients, however the patients were asymptomatic,” Abdalhamid said.

Abdalhamid said the new mutations might weaken the virus and make it harder for infection.

“It was very interesting to understand this risky group who are in nursing homes, like why don’t they have severe disease of the virus? Even though they are high risk group,” Abdalhamid said.

“That’s the good thing in this story that maybe the virus is losing its ability to cause as severe of disease,” lab director Peter Iwen said.

Iwen said it’s opposite of the variants, like the UK and South African strains that have surfaced in the U.S.

“Which is in contrary to the story we’re hearing about the variants of concern which are actually causing more diseases,” Iwen said.

Looking to the future, the lab is attempting to sequence all positive coronavirus samples in the state.

“We will use that data to not only look for variants of concern, but other variants that might appear,” Iwen said.

The lab’s using the Clear DX GridION Nanopore Sequencer and it was the first lab in the nation to use it.

“This technology has a lot of good use passed just the COVID discussion we are having now,” Iwen said.

Iwen hopes this new technology will also be used to look at the influenza virus in the fall.

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