First reported Indian COVID-19 variant detected in Louisiana

SHREVEPORT, Louisiana (KTAL / KMSS) – Two cases of the Indian variant COVID-19 have been identified in Louisiana.

According to LSU Health Shreveport, B.1.617.2, which was first detected in India, is spreading rapidly around the world.

LSUHS sequencing also reveals that B.1.1.7, sometimes referred to as “the British variant”, remains dominant in northern Louisiana, as is also the case in the rest of the United States.

To date, LSU Health Shreveport’s Center for Emerging Viral Threats has processed more than 331,000 COVID-19 test samples, of which 7,629 have tested positive. Scientists at LSUHS have decoded the genome sequences of more than 2,640 of these virus samples, representing 56% of all Louisiana viral genomic surveillance data.

The emergence of variant B.1.617.2 in northern Louisiana and northern Texas is of concern as it is believed to be more transmissible than earlier variants. Due to its rapid spread around the world, the World Health Organization has classified B.1.617.2 as a variant of concern. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has yet to do so.

The continued increase in variants that spread faster and can resist antibodies is a powerful reminder why all eligible citizens should seriously consider getting vaccinated as soon as possible.

Due to the lack of studies on the mortality and severity of the new variants, every precaution should be taken. Scientists remind us that the best way to stop new variants in their tracks is to get as many people vaccinated as possible, as is the case in Israel, where new cases have dropped since the country reached rates very high vaccination rates.

Although the B.1.617.2 variant may be more transmissible, early laboratory studies indicate that current COVID-19 vaccines provide good protection. However, the P.1 variant, first identified in Brazil and Japan, is both more transmissible and less sensitive to antibodies that protect against earlier variants, which has resulted in it being classified as a variant of concern. by the CDC and WHO.

Two additional cases of the P.1 variant also appeared in the last batch of samples sequenced by LSU Health, bringing the total detected in Louisiana to 18.

Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at LSU Health Shreveport, Dr Kamil said: “It is important to note that some of these variants, such as P.1, are able to re-infect people who had already recovered. from a previous case of COVID-19. , our current vaccines do a wonderful job protecting people from serious disease.

LSU Health Shreveport Vice Chancellor of Research, Dr Chris Kevil, said: “Ongoing public health surveillance through genome sequencing for viral variants remains an important mission of CEVT at LSU Health Shreveport to help to protect the region and the entire state during this pandemic. “

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