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Most Israelis infected with COVID-19 had strain that originated in US

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Most Israelis who had the COVID-19 virus were infected with a strain that originated in the United States.

About 70% of the infected patients were infected by Americans visiting Israel or by Israelis who brought the virus back with them from the United States, according to research from Tel Aviv University. This could be because visitors from the U.S. have more contact with native Israelis.

Most of the other 30% who got the virus were infected with a strain that came from Europe. No cases in Israel originated directly from China or other Asian countries, according to the study, which was widely reported in the Israeli media.

The genetic study was led by Dr. Adi Stern of the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology in the George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences at Tel Aviv University.

The study also found that a small number of “super spreaders” were responsible for most of the infections.

Some 212 Israelis who contracted the coronavirus participated in the study.