Health Care

SC sees first USA cases of South Africa coronavirus variant

SC sees first USA cases of South Africa coronavirus variant”

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.

A new coronavirus variant identified in South Africa has been found in the United States for the first time. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated that B.1.1.7 could become the dominant form of the coronavirus in the United States by March.

Pfizer and BioNTech said Wednesday a new vaccine against the variants does not appear to be necessary.

The WHO says the 501Y.V2 variant first identified in South Africa has now spread to Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Zambia, the French Indian Ocean region of Mayotte and in 24 non-African nations.

"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".

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"We know that viruses mutate to live and live to mutate", Dr. Brannon Traxler, South Carolina's Interim Public Health Director.

This is because B.1.351 seems able to elude some of the blocking action of antibodies produced by current vaccines and synthetic antibody therapies.

As in previous studies, antibodies were slightly less effective against the virus with three key mutations in the variant identified in South Africa. This is one aspect of the comprehensive, science-driven response to reduce the spread of COVID-19 through travel and in the United States. It did not provide more details about the patients, citing privacy concerns.

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. If any of the variants take off, the country could see yet another spike.

In the past week, scientists in the United Kingdom have been reporting that the variant first seen there, B.1.1.7, may also be deadlier than other forms of the virus, though they are still parsing through national data.

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