1st Cases Of Brazil Variant, More Contagious S. African Variant In L.A. – Deadline

Public Health Officials in Los Angeles reported on Wednesday that the county had detected the first cases of the Coronavirus variants originally seen in Brazil and South Africa. While only three instances of the virus strain from Brazil — also known as P.1 — and one instance of the variant from South Africa — known as B.1.351 — were detected, they are likely far from the only cases in the county.

Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer noted that, due to the expense, “Very few of our specimens are genetically tested in this way.” Statewide, only 5% of tests are run through genomic sequencing, according the California’s top health officer. The rate is even less at the county level.

P.1 is thought to be less susceptible to monoclonal antibody therapeutics and convalescent and post-vaccination sera, according to the CDC. Those are treatments used to address infections.

Those issues also apply for B.1.351, which is additionally thought to be 50% more transmissible by the CDC.

Brazil South Africa variants covid

Attributes of variants of concern which originated in Brazil and S. Africa

Even more concerning, however, is that the majority of samples genomically analyzed in Los Angeles County turned out to be variants of concern. That list is led by the more infectious U.K. variant, which this week also became the dominant strain in the U.S. That revelation comes, of course, one day after California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that the state plans to drop most of its Covid-19 restrictions on June 15.

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