A brand new variant of the COVID-19 virus is exhibiting up in a rising variety of instances, officers from the California Division of Public Well being, Santa Clara County and UC San Francisco introduced Sunday.
The variant, which had beforehand been detected in different international locations and states, is now more and more present in a number of California counties, well being officers stated in a press launch.
“It’s too early to know if this variant will unfold extra quickly than others,” Dr. Erica Pan, an epidemiologist with the California Division of Public Well being, stated in a press release.
Information of one other variant of COVID-19 comes simply as officers grapple with excessive case charges, restricted ICU beds and a sluggish rollout of the 2 virus vaccines.
Pan stated the introduction of the variant, whereas widespread in viruses like SARS-CoV-2, reinforces the necessity to put on masks and scale back mixing with folks outdoors the speedy house.
Based on a press launch, California officers are working with the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention, native public well being departments, and laboratory sequencing companions to study extra concerning the variant, together with the way it it spreads.
The 452R variant, as it’s recognized, was first recognized final yr. The latter variant is totally different from variant B.1.1.7, a extra contagious pressure first detected within the UK, based on the press launch.
The 452R variant has been recognized extra steadily since November, authorities stated.
“The truth that this variant has been recognized in a number of giant outbreaks in our county is a pink flag and ought to be investigated additional,” Santa Clara County Well being Officer Dr. Sara Cody stated in a press release. “This virus continues to mutate and adapt, and we can not decrease our guard. This information underscores the necessity for everybody to observe all preventive measures and get vaccinated as quickly because the vaccine is obtainable. “
Neither Cody nor different officers had been instantly out there to debate whether or not the variant could possibly be particularly associated to latest outbreaks at a Kaiser Permanente facility in San Jose, on the SJSU soccer staff, and in Santa Clara County jails.
Along with Santa Clara County, the 452R variant has been detected in Humboldt, Lake, Los Angeles, Mono, Monterey, Orange, Riverside, San Francisco, San Bernardino, San Diego and San Luis Obispo counties, based on authorities.
However well being officers stated it’s too early to know the way prevalent the variant is as a result of genomic sequencing will not be carried out equally throughout the state or nation.
Dr. Charles Chiu, a virologist and professor of laboratory medication at UC San Francisco, has been sequencing instances from a number of state counties for the previous a number of months to watch for variants of the coronavirus.
Chiu stated in a press release that this explicit variant carries three mutations that the virus makes use of to stick to and enter cells.
He added that the variant is being prioritized for research “to find out if this virus is extra infectious or impacts the efficiency of the vaccine.”