First case of B.1.351 COVID-19 variant reported in state

A microscopic look at coronavirus cells.
A microscopic look at coronavirus cells.(Staff)
Published: Feb. 11, 2021 at 6:57 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 12, 2021 at 9:07 AM EST
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WITN) -The state Department of Health and Human Services Thursday reported the first identification of the COVID-19 variant B.1.351 in a North Carolina resident.

The B.1.351 variant was first detected in South Africa in October and in the United States in January.

The North Carolina B.1.351 variant case was identified in a sample from an adult in the central part of the state who had not recently traveled. To protect the privacy of the individual, no further information will be released. The specimen was tested by LabCorp and selected for sequencing as part of a partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

North Carolina is the fourth state to report an identified case of B.1.351. As of Feb. 9, nine cases of infection with the variant had been identified in residents of South Carolina, Maryland and Virginia.

Data suggest this variant may be more contagious than other variants but does not suggest that it causes more severe disease. Current COVID-19 vaccines are expected to be effective against this and other new variants.

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