The Cdc on a Variant of the New Coronavirus that some Worry May Challenge Available Treatments and Vaccines.

January 28, 2021
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CDC is aware that the first US documented cases of the B 1.351 variant of SARS-CoV-2, which was first detected in South Africa, have been identified in South Carolina.

  • Variants of the new coronavirus show the virus has evolved. Currently the CDC lists 3 variants: (identified first in) the UK, South Africa and Brazil.
  • The South Africa variant, now present in dozens of countries, has raised the most concern about treatment and contagion.
  • Why This Happening: The virus replicates inside a body and sometimes that replication goes haywire. The “mistake” becomes the variant. Variants can be both more dangerous or less effective.
  • What Happened in South Carolina: Two people tested positive for this variantthey don’t know each other and haven’t traveled to South Africa.
  • The major questions that we have no answer for: How much more transmittable are these variants? Are they more dangerous?
  • Why It Matters: All of our research and knowledge on COVID-19 comes from the dominate strain of the virus up until this point. It remains to be seen how much these “mutants” challenge both public health policy makers and citizens.

Here’s the announcement from the South Carolina Health Dept.

CDC Announcement:

South Carolina detects first US cases associated with variant first detected in South Africa

CDC is aware that the first US documented cases of the B 1.351 variant of SARS-CoV-2, which was first detected in South Africa, have been identified in South Carolina.

CDC is early in its efforts to understand this variant and will continue to provide updates as we learn more. At this time, we have no evidence that infections by this variant cause more severe disease. Like the UK and Brazilian variants, preliminary data suggests this variant may spread more easily and quickly than other variants.

CDC will continue communicating with international, state, and local partners to monitor the presence and impact of variants in the United States and around the world. Monitoring variants is why CDC has expanded National SARS-CoV-2 Strain Surveillance (NS3). We continue working with national reference laboratories, state health departments and researchers from around the country to gather sequence data and increase use of genomic sequencing data in response to this pandemic.

CDC recommends that people avoid travel at this time. However, for those who must travel, additional measures have been put in place to increase safety; especially as COVID-19 variants spread around the world. As of January 26, all air passengers flying into the United States must provide a negative test result or documentation of recovery to the airline before they board a flight to the US. This is one aspect of the comprehensive, science-driven response to reduce the spread of COVID-19 through travel and in the United States.

CDC’s recommendations for slowing the spread—wearing masks, staying at least 6 feet apart from others, avoiding crowds, ventilating indoor spaces, and washing hands often—will also prevent the spread of this variant.

Good resource from the CDC on variants

by Jenna Lee,