On Sunday, California health officials warned of a separate variant of the coronavirus, known as L452R, which has been growing in the state since last November.
It is too early to say whether the strain is more portable than others, including the highly contagious variant, first identified in the UK, said Dr Erika Pan, a public epidemiologist in the public health department. However, officials are urging the public to wear masks, avoid contact with household members and isolate themselves after exposure.
Similar to the British version invented B.1.1.7, the L452R variant involves several mutations in the surface protein spike that the virus uses to infect cells. Researchers believe that recently approved vaccines remain effective against the UK option, although research is continuing on the impact of a single option first identified in South Africa.
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The L452R variant was first discovered in Denmark at the start of the pandemic and then found everywhere, including in California, Dr. Charles Chiu, a virologist and professor of laboratory medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, told reporters on Sunday. the Chronicle of San Francisco. Chiu said the variant was found in about 4% of the samples in December and jumped to 25% of the samples by early January for each exit.
“The data so far is very preliminary, but it is essentially a concern that there may be some impact on the vaccine,” Chiu said of the outcome.
The variant has been appearing faster in laboratories in California since November, along with increased surveillance, and has been found in large outbreaks in Santa Clara County, according to the state health department.
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The San Francisco Chronicle also reports that Dr. Sarah Cody, a public health officer in Santa Clara County, says the option was found in a fire among Kaiser Permanente employees in San Jose, which made headlines after dozens of cases and one death. associated with an inflatable suit worn by a Christmas employee. The outbreak has since swelled to more than 90 infections among staff.
Cody told the agency that employees were trying to find out if the option could explain the huge size of the hospital’s outbreak.
“It’s the question of the day,” Cody said.
A spokesman for Kaiser Permanente wrote on Fox News on Monday morning, confirming that the L452R variant was found at the hospital’s hearth.
“We can confirm that the L452R COVID-19 variant was found in some results related to the recent COVID-19 outbreak in the San Jose Emergency Department,” the email said. “While this information will support the epidemiological investigation of the outbreak and help advance important research, it does not immediately affect our patients or staff whose health and safety remain our highest priority. Staff and patients who have given positive results for COVID-19 as a result of which the outbreak has already passed its infectious period and is asymptomatic. “
Fox News requested further comment from Santa Clara’s public health department.
“In addition to Santa Clara County, the 452R variant has been found in Humboldt, Lake, Los Angeles, Mono, Monterey, Orange, Riverside, San Francisco, San Bernardino, San Diego and San Luis Obispo counties,” the state health statement said. department. “Because genomic sequencing is not performed uniformly across a country or country, it is too early to know how widespread variant 452 is across the country, nationally or globally.”
State data show a sharp increase in daily new infections in Santa Clara County in late November, reflecting trends across the country. The state of test positives in the country has also increased from about 3% in early November to over 12% now.
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“Now that we know that this option is growing in our local communities, we give it the first place to study,” Chiu said of each site. “Researchers from UCSF and elsewhere will now be able to perform critical laboratory experiments to determine whether or not the virus is more contagious or affects the effectiveness of the vaccine.”
The news coincides with reports that Los Angeles County has exceeded 1 million cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic this weekend and reports its first case of the more contagious variant in the UK.
Although California was among the toughest states in the country in applying blockades, in the past two weeks it has continued to see an increase in cases, averaging over 41,000 new cases of coronavirus each day.
Fox News’s Bradford Betz contributed to this article.