Texas confirms South Africa coronavirus variant case in Houston resident

Texas officers on Monday introduced the state’s first confirmed case of a coronavirus variant initially detected in South Africa.

The unnamed particular person had traveled inside the U.S. in December by means of worldwide airports, returned to Fort Bend County and developed signs a number of days later,  Dr. Jacquelyn Johnson Minter, HHS director at Fort Bend County, stated throughout a press briefing.

The particular person was medically evaluated, examined for SARS-CoV-2 an infection, and the outcomes got here again optimistic. The particular person has since recovered, and officers realized of the case on Saturday, although it occurred a number of weeks in the past. Genomic sequencing of optimistic checks via Houston Methodist Hospital helped uncover the variant.

“It was on this Saturday that we turned conscious of the truth that we had two isolates that had been optimistic for the U.Ok. variant and one isolate that was optimistic for the South African variant,” Dr. S. Wesley Long of Houston Methodist Hospital stated through the briefing. “These isolates had been discovered from three completely different people in numerous elements of the higher Houston metropolitan space.”


All family members examined detrimental, and there weren’t any office exposures, Minter stated. Officials additionally detailed two further circumstances of a variant first detected within the U.Ok. Both circumstances are amongst males; one is a affected person in his fifties presently hospitalized, and the second case didn’t require hospitalization. The U.Ok. variant, B.1.1.7, was first introduced in Texas a few month in the past.

Houston officers have additionally detected the B.1.1.7 variant in a number of wastewater sheds at “very low ranges,” however have but to seek out proof of the variant first detected in South Africa, additionally known as B.1.351. While the implications are unclear by way of how many individuals locally could be contaminated, officers stated the information shouldn’t come as a shock, and serves as a reminder that the pandemic is way from over.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists 17 circumstances of the B.1.1.7 variant in Texas, although that is possible an underestimate.


Minter suggested masks use, distancing and hand hygiene to guard from all coronavirus variants as vaccines proceed to rollout.

Both strains are believed to be extra transmissible, and sure extra virulent. Experts imagine the lately accepted vaccines will stay efficient towards the variants, however the South African variant particularly has proven to decrease vaccine efficacy. While some drug sponsors are working to create variant booster photographs, the Food and Drug Administration is concurrently drawing up plans to assist information newly adjusted vaccines, medication and diagnostics towards quicker regulatory approval.

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