Brazilian COVID-19 variant found in Colorado

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Illustration of changing genetic structure to new strain. (Getty Images)

DENVER (KDVR) — The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has identified two cases of the Brazilian COVID variant, also known as the P.1 variant, in Boulder county.

The variants are concerning because there’s evidence they could be more transmissible and cause a more severe disease. There’s also evidence the current COVID-19 vaccines may not protect against them as well as they do the original virus.

So far, research shows the approved vaccines have been effective at preventing infections from the U.K. variant, also known as the B.1.1.7 variant, according to Dr. Rachel Herlihy, state epidemiologist.

But the vaccines may not be able to completely protect against COVID-19 variants from Brazil and South Africa.

To discover many of the variants, scientists must complete a whole genome sequencing of a positive COVID-19 test. The state can now do this on about 550 test results every week and is continually increasing that number.

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