Madison, Wisconsin – A second variant of the virus strain that causes COVID-19 has been confirmed in Wisconsin.
The State Department of Health said the South African variant, also known as B.1.351, was identified Thursday by genome sequencing. The version differs from the British version, which was first confirmed in Wisconsin in January.
Variant B.1.351 was found in South Africa in samples from October. The researchers say both new variants are more contagious than the original strain COVID-19. Some evidence also suggests that the South African variant may affect how certain antibodies respond to the virus.
@DHSWI and laboratory partners have identified a second variant strain of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. This means that we must all continue to take precautions to protect ourselves and everyone around us in order to #StopTheSpread
Get details at https://t.co/GFpeoWbUOz pic.twitter.com/yjNP2oA0KD
– WIDeptHealthServices (@DHSWI) March 5, 2021
Experts say all three vaccines allowed effectively reduce the risk of the virus and its variants.
“It is important to remember that new options are expected to emerge over time. Here in Wisconsin, all genomic sequencing of positive samples from COVID-19 cases is done regularly, “said DHS Deputy Secretary Julie Williams Van Dyck. “As these variants can be more easily propagated than the original SARS-CoV-2 strain, wearing a mask, standing at home, physically distancing and washing one’s hands remain crucial.”
As of Friday afternoon, health officials had identified one case with the option for South Africa and 26 cases with the option for the United Kingdom in Wisconsin.
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