Reporting in patients of South Florida, a new COVID-19 variant has been discovered in Columbia. This has concerned the health officials, who are already stuck with vaccine-hesitant people in the delta variant.
The CEO of Jackson Health System, Carlos Migoya said recently that the B.1.621 variant has been reported in more than ten percent of COVID-19 positive cases. It seems like this variant is leaving behind the delta variant and establishing its dominance, jeopardizing the health of the unvaccinated Americans. It is yet to be recognized by Greek-letter designation as more dominating variants have.
A Yet Another Variant Reported In South Florida; High Time People Get Vaccinated
Migoya said that he believes that the reason for B.1.621 rising in South Florida is because of the international tourism between Miami and Florida. Health officials are keeping an eye on the B.1.621 variant while the country lags behind in the required vaccination rate.
The cases of B.1.621 variant were earlier reported in January and recently around 16 people have contracted this variant in the United Kingdom. The experts believe that the majority of the spread of this variant can be attributed to international travel.
England’s Public Health stated that there is no evidence yet to say this variant causes death, severity, and hospitalization. There is no take whether this variant tears down the vaccine’s efficacy or not. Still, the agency continues to investigate the variant through testing it in labs for a better understanding of its effects and mutations.
Suggesting possible significant impact, the European Center for Disease Control has placed this variant as one of interest. The information is still limited and preliminary with several unanswered questions.
The United States has not yet classified the variant as one of interest. A professor at the University at Buffalo’s Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, John Sellick, said that the cases of B.1.621 account for only 2.1 percent, as of mid-July. Sellick noted that a variant becomes significant if it gives itself a selective advantage, which has been seen in the delta variant. He added that we will see about this variant in the upcoming weeks, to see if this one does any trick and becomes more lethal. He also noted how the delta variant was found in just around 10% in the beginning and soared high to 80% of total cases by mid-July.
Other than B.1.621 reported in South Florida, around 10 other variants are being monitored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Bellick said that only time is capable of providing us with more information about this variant. He said that just like it did with the delta variant, we do not want to see B.1.621’s cases rising from 2% to 30% or 60%.
Chief health officer and University of Michigan’s Division of Infectious Diseases’ professor of medicine, Preeti N. Malani said that it does not take time for variants to spread and the most at risk are the unvaccinated people. Giving an example of how quickly variants are capable of spreading, Preeti recalled February 2022’s Biogen’s annual leadership conference from where the coronavirus was infected to Massachusetts and then across the whole country. She said that if a large number of unvaccinated people gather together, there is a high chance of rapid transmission of the infection. Malani said that concerns about new emerging variants can be halted with people getting vaccinated, but fear of vaccines hinders the process.
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Experts believe that with the virus spreading like wildfire and more and more new variants popping up, it is high time people rethink their social and travel plans and focus on getting vaccinated.