The first two cases in Louisiana of a more contagious variant of COVID-19, known as P.1 and often referred to as the “Brazilian variant”, have been identified. None of the patients reported a recent trip.
One patient is in the greater New Orleans region. The second is in southwestern Louisiana. Neither have been vaccinated.
Louisiana Department of Health officials confirmed the diagnoses on Thursday afternoon. Although these are the first two confirmed cases in the state, the option is likely to spread for some time, including in other areas of the state.
“Since they were not passengers and 3.5% of all COVID transmitters in the United States are P.1
The presence of the variant in Louisiana is no surprise to health experts tracking its spread in the surrounding states.
“Honestly, it was inevitable,” said Dr. Lucio Miele, who sequences COVID genomes in his lab at LSU Health New School of Medicine. “These options are spreading.”
Miele said vaccines are protective against variant P.1, but can cause vaccines more than other variants because they are resistant to antibodies. It also looks more contagious.
In some cases, variant P.1 reinfects some people who have already recovered from COVID-19. Scientists are concerned about the variant because it shares characteristics with B.1.351, the dominant strain in South Africa. Vaccines have been shown to be slightly less effective against the South African version.
In recent weeks, vaccination levels in Louisiana have been cratered, leaving a million doses sitting on shelves in the state. Accumulating appointments …
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists P.1 as an “option of concern”. Although scientists are still working to understand how the disease caused by variant P.1 may differ from the disease caused by other variants, some drugs used to fight COVID-19 may not work well against it. .
“This is potentially associated with increased tolerability and reduced susceptibility to certain therapeutic agents,” said health ministry officials. “Recent data suggest that variant P.1 may also be associated with a higher risk of severe disease. Current COVID-19 vaccines are effective against this variant strain.”
Variants of P.1 in Louisiana have been identified by routine monitoring of positive coronavirus tests.
Another 40,614 doses of COVID vaccine were given in Louisiana this week, according to an update at noon by the Louisiana Department of…
Although this option is the newest identified in Louisiana, it is not the only one. Louisiana has also seen confirmed cases of B.1.1.7 (known as the UK variant) and B.1.427 / 429 (known as the California variant).
Health experts are worried that the options will pull off the pandemic, as the virus develops mutations that allow it to avoid the effects of the vaccine, especially because Louisiana has a low vaccination rate. Only 32% of the state’s residents received a single shot, compared to 43% nationally. A slow vaccination rate could allow more mutations, Miele said.
“We are racing against time,” Miele said. “The virus won’t just sit around waiting for us to do what we have to do.”
Over time, and the virus has the freedom to mutate among unvaccinated people, its ability to survive improves. If the virus continues to mutate, this may lead to the need for booster photos or new vaccines.
“The lower the vaccination rate, the greater the advantage we give to these options,” Miele said. we can end this pandemic. ”
The option with Brazil was first opened in the United States in January and has 497 reported cases among 31 states in the United States. All states bordering Louisiana have reported at least one case of option P.1. Florida has 126 cases, most of them in all states.