DENVER, Dec. 29, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — The new variant of COVID-19 now detected in a patient in Colorado was first identified in the United Kingdom in early December.
According to a statement by Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, the 22-year-old male patient resides in Elbert County, Colorado, about 50 miles southeast of Denver.
An article published Dec. 20 by Public Health England on the website GOV.UK said the first cases appeared in areas of London and Kent with already high-incidences of COVID-19 infections.
According to the PHE article, 1,108 cases of the new variant had been detected in the south and east of England by Dec. 13.
“We are investigating a new strain of SARS-COV-2, predominantly in Kent and the surrounding areas,” said Dr Susan Hopkins, Test and Trace and PHE Joint Medical Advisor.
“It is not unexpected that the virus should evolve and it’s important that we spot any changes quickly to understand the potential risk any variant may pose,” Hopkins said. “There is currently no evidence that this strain causes more severe illness, although it is being detected in a wide geography especially where there are increased cases detected.”
THE PHE article also stressed the new variant did not seem to negatively impact “antibody response or vaccine efficacy.”
Since the discovery of the new COVID-19 variant the strain has been detected in at last 17 countries.
Health officials in Colorado say the 22-year-old male patient who tested positive for the new strain had not recently traveled, suggesting the variant was passed through some form of community spread.
Researchers in England taking part in “backwards tracing” have come to the conclusion that the new variant was circulating as early as September 2020.
According to PHE studies, a mutation in the ‘spike’ protein may have led to the increase in transmissions based in interactions with human cells.
For the latest global tracking figures, follow Gephardt Daily’s link to Johns Hopkins University’s COVID-19 Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE).
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