US Detects First Cases Of South Africa Coronavirus Variant

US Detects First Cases Of South Africa Coronavirus Variant

Scientists are more anxious about this mutation than they are about the better known B.1.1.7 variant first identified in Britain, which has been seen now in dozens of U.S. states.

The coronavirus variant in South Africa is 50% more contagious than the original strain, the African country's leading infectious disease expert said, according to Business Insider. According to reports, the mutated super-variant of COVID-19, first detected in South Africa, has been found in two cases reported in SC.

The two cases in SC involve adults in the eastern part of the state, from the Lowcountry and Pee Dee regions, according to the state's Department of Health and Environmental Control.

So far "at least one case" of the South African strain has been identified with no "obvious" link back to someone who imported it.

The lab study - conducted by researchers at Pfizer and the University of Texas Medical Branch - did not test all the mutations found in the variants, and researchers note that "clinical data are needed for firm conclusions about vaccine effectiveness against variant viruses".

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Though there is not yet evidence that B.1.351 causes more severe disease than the more common strains of the virus, the higher infection rate associated with the variant would likely spur an increase in hospitalizations and deaths.

The South African variant has been confirmed in SC, reports the CDC. Like the United Kingdom and Brazilian variants, preliminary data suggests this variant may spread more easily and quickly than other variants.

Such studies resulted in concerns that existing Covid-19 vaccines - which were designed based on earlier iterations of the virus - might not be as effective against the variants.

CDC recommends that people avoid travel at this time. Essentially, the antibody response induced by the shot should still be powerful enough to help people ward off Covid-19.

"The good news is that we can slow the spread of this variant and all COVID-19 variants by using the tried-and-true prevention methods of wearing masks, keeping social distance, staying home when sick, and getting tested when appropriate".

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