By News Desk @bactiman63
Viruses constantly change through mutation, and new variants of a virus are expected to occur over time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reminds us.
- In the United Kingdom (UK), a new variant called B.1.1.7 has emerged with an unusually large number of mutations. This variant spreads more easily and quickly than other variants. Currently, there is no evidence that it causes more severe illness or increased risk of death. This variant was first detected in September 2020 and is now highly prevalent in London and southeast England. It has since been detected in numerous countries around the world, including the United States and Canada.
- In South Africa, another variant called 1.351 has emerged independently of the variant detected in the UK. This variant, originally detected in early October, shares some mutations with the variant detected in the UK. There have been cases caused by this variant outside of South Africa, but it has not been detected in the US.
- In Brazil, a variant called P.1 emerged and was identified in four travelers from Brazil, who were tested during routine screening at Haneda airport outside Tokyo, Japan. This variant contains a set of additional mutations that may affect its ability to be recognized by antibodies. This variant has not been detected in the US.
CDC reports through Tuesday, 122 B.1.1.7 variant have been detected in 21 US states. The cases identified above are based on a sampling of SARS-CoV-2-positive specimens and do not represent the total number of B.1.1.7 lineage cases that may be circulating in the United States and may not match numbers reported by states, territories, tribes, and local officials.
Florida (46) and California (40) have reported the bulk of the cases in the country so far.
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