MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – The Brazilian variant COVID-19 has arrived in Wisconsin. Their discovery means that all three known coronavirus variants have been found at Badger State.
The Department of Health Services reports that a case of variant P.1, which was originally found in four travelers from Brazil who were tested at a Tokyo airport, has been confirmed in Wisconsin.
Health officials believe that this strain spreads more quickly and easily than the original COVID-19 strain, similar to the variants found in the UK and South Africa.
However, the researchers also say that the P.1 variant has a unique genetic mutation that can affect the body’s ability to recognize and fight the virus. Antibodies typically develop through a COVID-19 infection or vaccination can fight COVID-19, however mutations in the virus can cause the antibodies to not recognize the virus. This would cause someone’s body to remain exposed to the COVID-19 infection of this strain, variant P.1.
DHS said more studies are needed to determine whether the P.1 and B.1.351 strains, or the South African variant, cause more serious disease.
|UK variant (B.1.1.7)||South African variant (B.1.351)||Brazilian variant (P.1)|
Currently, there are 81 COVID-19 variants in total in Wisconsin, 78 from the UK variant, two from the South African variant, and one from the new Brazilian variant.
DHS last updated its variant numbers on Thursday, having previously reported only 69 cases of the UK variant and only one of the South African variant.
DSH stated in its COVID-19 dashboard that the number of variant cases identified likely only represents a fraction of the variant circulating in the state. Wisconsin State Laboratory Division of Hygiene Communicable Diseases Director Dr. Allen Bateman said the testing capacity of the four laboratories that test for COVID-19 variants is up to 600 samples per week.
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