Minnesota confirms first known U.S. case of more contagious Covid variant originally found in Brazil

The Minnesota Department of Health mentioned Monday it has confirmed the first known U.S. case of a more contagious coronavirus variant originally found in Brazil.

The Brazil pressure was found by the well being division’s variant surveillance program, in accordance with a press launch. The division collects 50 random samples every week for genome sequencing.

The affected person with the Brazil variant is a resident of the Twin Cities metro space who just lately traveled to Brazil, in accordance with state well being officers. The individual turned unwell in the course of the first week of January and the specimen was collected Jan. 9, the state mentioned.

“We’re thankful that our testing program helped us find this case, and we thank all Minnesotans who seek out testing when they feel sick or otherwise have reason to get a test,” Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm mentioned in an announcement. “We know that even as we work hard to defeat COVID-19, the virus continues to evolve as all viruses do.”

Earlier in the day, President Joe Biden prolonged journey restrictions for Europe, the U.Okay. and Brazil, in an effort to curb the unfold of Covid-19, significantly as new strains of the coronavirus are recognized.

Health officers are involved that the Covid-19 vaccines presently in the marketplace is probably not as efficient in guarding towards new, more contagious strains of the coronavirus. Moderna mentioned Monday it’s engaged on a booster shot to protect towards one other pressure found in South Africa.

The Brazil pressure, known as P.1, was first recognized in 4 vacationers from Brazil who have been examined throughout a routine screening in Tokyo, Japan, in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It incorporates a set of extra mutations that will have an effect on its potential to be acknowledged by antibodies, in accordance with the CDC.

State well being officers additionally mentioned Monday they found two more instances of the B.1.1.7 virus, generally known because the U.Okay. variant, by final week’s variant surveillance testing. Of the 2 new instances with the U.Okay variant detected by the well being division, each are Twin Cities metro space residents and each reported latest journey to California, officers mentioned.

“These cases illustrate why it is so important to limit travel during a pandemic as much as possible,” mentioned epidemiologist Dr. Ruth Lynfield in an announcement. “If you must travel, it is important to watch for symptoms of COVID-19, follow public health guidance on getting tested prior to travel, use careful protective measures during travel, and quarantine and get tested after travel.”

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