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Brazil variant of coronavirus detected in US for first time


Related video above: White House press secretary says no time 'to be lifting' travel restrictionsWhile all viruses mutate over time, some variants of the novel coronavirus are worrying scientists.Several strains appear to be more transmissible than other variants, scientists say.One from Brazil was discovered recently in a U.S. patient, officials in Minnesota said. They said the person had traveled from Brazil. It is the first known case of the P.1 variant reaching the United States."The emergence of this variant raises concerns of a potential increase in transmissibility or propensity for SARS-CoV-2 re-infection of individuals," the CDC says on its website.It's been the most common variant of the virus detected in a surge of cases seen in and around Manaus, the largest city in Brazil's Amazon region.There's no evidence it causes more severe disease, however.Another strain, first discovered in the United Kingdom, is also more transmissible.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned that the country could see "rapid growth" in its spread in early 2021. This B.1.1.7 strain has already been detected in more than 20 U.S. states.And there's "a realistic possibility" that B.1.1.7 could be deadlier than other variants, a UK report said.Another strain, first detected in South Africa, is concerning because scientists have said current COVID-19 vaccines might not be as effective against it.That strain has been found in more than 20 other countries, though it has not yet been detected in the U.S.Two doses of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine are "expected to be protective against emerging strains detected to date," the vaccine maker said.There was "no significant impact" on the vaccine's effectiveness against the strain first found in the UK. But there may be somewhat less effectiveness against the strain first detected in South Africa."The efficacy might be reduced somewhat, but it may still be very effective," said David Montefiori, a virologist at Duke University Medical Center. "Hopefully, the vaccine will still be 70-80% effective."Moderna said it's developing a new COVID-19 booster vaccine to protect against the variant first spotted in South Africa. The company plans to first test the vaccine in the lab and in a small Phase 1 clinical trial in the U.S.Johnson & Johnson's coronavirus vaccine candidate is being tested in Brazil, South Africa and the United States and results might provide insight into how well it works against emerging new variants, one of its developers told CNN Senior Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta on the Coronavirus Fact vs Fiction podcast.The company has said that it could share its Phase 3 trial data as early as this week."It'll give us insights not only into whether or not this vaccine candidate is effective, but it'll also give us insights into whether or not the variants that are circulating in South Africa might be a problem for vaccines," said Dr. Dan Barouch, who is the director of the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School.

Related video above: White House press secretary says no time 'to be lifting' travel restrictions

While all viruses mutate over time, some variants of the novel coronavirus are worrying scientists.

Several strains appear to be more transmissible than other variants, scientists say.

One from Brazil was discovered recently in a U.S. patient, officials in Minnesota said. They said the person had traveled from Brazil. It is the first known case of the P.1 variant reaching the United States.

"The emergence of this variant raises concerns of a potential increase in transmissibility or propensity for SARS-CoV-2 re-infection of individuals," the CDC says on its website.

It's been the most common variant of the virus detected in a surge of cases seen in and around Manaus, the largest city in Brazil's Amazon region.

There's no evidence it causes more severe disease, however.

Another strain, first discovered in the United Kingdom, is also more transmissible.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned that the country could see "rapid growth" in its spread in early 2021. This B.1.1.7 strain has already been detected in more than 20 U.S. states.

And there's "a realistic possibility" that B.1.1.7 could be deadlier than other variants, a UK report said.

Another strain, first detected in South Africa, is concerning because scientists have said current COVID-19 vaccines might not be as effective against it.

That strain has been found in more than 20 other countries, though it has not yet been detected in the U.S.

Two doses of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine are "expected to be protective against emerging strains detected to date," the vaccine maker said.

There was "no significant impact" on the vaccine's effectiveness against the strain first found in the UK. But there may be somewhat less effectiveness against the strain first detected in South Africa.

"The efficacy might be reduced somewhat, but it may still be very effective," said David Montefiori, a virologist at Duke University Medical Center. "Hopefully, the vaccine will still be 70-80% effective."

Moderna said it's developing a new COVID-19 booster vaccine to protect against the variant first spotted in South Africa. The company plans to first test the vaccine in the lab and in a small Phase 1 clinical trial in the U.S.

Johnson & Johnson's coronavirus vaccine candidate is being tested in Brazil, South Africa and the United States and results might provide insight into how well it works against emerging new variants, one of its developers told CNN Senior Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta on the Coronavirus Fact vs Fiction podcast.

The company has said that it could share its Phase 3 trial data as early as this week.

"It'll give us insights not only into whether or not this vaccine candidate is effective, but it'll also give us insights into whether or not the variants that are circulating in South Africa might be a problem for vaccines," said Dr. Dan Barouch, who is the director of the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School.


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