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The Hawk Eye

Robert Bollinger, M.D. said last week that mutations in viruses — including COVID-19 — are neither new nor unexpected.

Bollinger is the Raj and Kamla Gupta Professor of Infectious Diseases at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

“All RNA viruses mutate over time, some more than others," Bollinger said. "For example, flu viruses change often, which is why doctors recommend that you get a new flu vaccine every year."

He said the mutated version of the coronavirus detected in southeastern England in September 2020, now known as B.1.1.7, quickly became the most common version of the coronavirus in the United Kingdom, accounting for about 60% of new COVID-19 cases in December. Other variants have emerged in South Africa, Brazil, California and other areas.