MADISON, Delete. (WMTV) – The Brazilian COVID-19 variant has reached Wisconsin. The discovery means that all three known coronavirus variants have been found in the Badger State.
The Department of Health Services reports that one case of variant P.1, originally found in four travelers from Brazil tested at an airport in Tokyo, has been confirmed in Wisconsin.
Health officials believe this species is spreading faster and more easily than the original COVID-19 species, similar to the variants found in the UK and South Africa.
However, researchers also say the P.1 variant has a unique genetic mutation that can affect the body’s ability to recognize and fight the virus. Antibodies normally develop from a COVID-19 infection or vaccination can fight COVID-19, but virus mutations can prevent the antibodies from recognizing the virus. This would leave a person’s body exposed to the COVID-19 infection of this species, variant P.1.
The DHS said more studies are needed to determine whether strains P.1 and B.1.351, or the South African variety, cause more serious disease.
|UK variant (B.1.1.7)||South African variant (B.1.351)||Brazilian variant (P.1)|
There are currently 81 COVID-19 variants in Wisconsin, 78 of the British variant, two of the South African variant, and one of the new Brazilian variant.
DHS last updated its variant numbers on Thursday, having previously reported only 69 cases of the British variant and only one of the South African variant.
DSH stated on their COVID-19 dashboard that the number of variant cases identified likely represents only a fraction of the variants circulating in the state. Director of the Wisconsin State Laboratory Hygiene Communicable Disease Division, Dr. Allen Bateman, said the testing capacity for all four labs testing for COVID-19 variants is up to 600 copies per week.
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