Concerns Grow Over The Newly Discovered Southern California Covid-19 Variant

The rate at which new variants have appeared over the past few months is alarming. In the past few weeks alone, along with the insurgence of the United Kingdom (B.1.1.7) and South African (B.1.351) variants, more have been identified in Brazil, Ohio, and now California. The increased rates of infection and deaths in Manaus, Brazil, despite prior infections affecting 76% of the population, serves as a warning that a new variant may reinfect a population infected with an earlier strain. A similar situation may be occurring in Southern California. Here we examine their situation in more detail.

One of the few vigorous SARS-CoV-2 genome sequencing efforts in the US comes from Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. Analyzing countless samples on the lookout for the dangerous emerging variants, researchers found a strain all its own as far back as July. Only a single sample at the time, not much was thought of it. Fast forward to January and the California variant (CAL.20C) accounts for half of the analyzed isolates.

Read the full article on Forbes.

© William A. Haseltine, PhD. All Rights Reserved.