Bay Area officials reported that the region had recorded its first cases of a new variant of the coronavirus infection that was previously observed in Southern California.
Authorities confirmed that a different version of the COVID-19 virus caused a deadly outbreak at Kaiser Permanente in San Jose. Additionally, the new variant has already reached Santa Clara County and San Francisco.
New COVID-19 Variant
Officials said they gathered samples from the Kaiser patients that were allegedly infected with the new variant and discovered that some of them had mutated COVID-19 infections. Health officials noted that the 452R variant was different than the B.1.1.7 variant that United Kingdom authorities first detected.
“The fact that this variant was identified in several large outbreaks in our county is a red flag and must be investigated further. This virus continues to mutate and adapt, and we cannot let down our guard,” Dr. Sara Cody, Santa Clara County’s Health Officer, said.
On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that the new UK variant would most likely become the most prominent strain in the United States within the next two months. However, the director of viral diagnostics at UC San Francisco, Dr. Charles Chiu, said different strains of the infection would not impact the COVID-19 vaccine.
“This variant carries three mutations, including L452R, in the spike protein, which the virus uses to attach to and enter cells, and is the target of the two vaccines that are currently available in the United States,” Chiu said.
Last November and December, authorities first reported observing mutations of the COVID-19 virus in the United States. Since the beginning of last year, more than 20 million Americans have been infected with the coronavirus, KRON4 reported.
Last December, a 30-year-old San Diego man was the first alleged patient of the new COVID-19 mutation. However, authorities noted that the individual did not have any history of travel prior to his positive test.