A coronavirus variant that was first found in India has been discovered in Colorado for the first time. Dr. Rachel Herlihy, the state epidemiologist, told reporters in a press briefing on 5 April 2021 in Mesa County five cases of the B1617.2 strain had been identified. None of the people had a recent travel history.
According to Rachel, the variant has been classified as a variant of interest in the Centers for Disease Control, the next level down from a variant of concern. She said, “We’re trying to really learn a little bit more about this particular variant and what sort of aspects of it could potentially be more concerning. “So whether it could potentially be more transmissible or have other concerning characteristics about it.” She also said that the information about the variant is still pretty limited, and what is known is current Coronavirus vaccines may be effective against it.
Rachel further says that this variant can be more transmissible because it shares these mutations with other variants that are more transmissible. Limited data suggest for this particular variant that some of the monoclonal antibody treatments could be less effective. About vaccine effectiveness, there is very minimal data. Right now, it looks like minimal impact on the vaccine effectiveness with this particular variant.
According to Dr. Lakshmi Chauhan, working with UCHealth as an infectious disease, specialist says the discovery of this variant in Colorado will result in a similar surge cannot be said. She also said that she believes that this won’t be different from the other variants. As more people are vaccinated, the virus to survive will continue to mutate.
In Colorado, 2 million people are fully vaccinated, but still, the state is facing the 4th wave of Coronavirus. Hospitalizations are at 666 Coronavirus patients, the highest level since January, but still far below the big surge of hospitalizations in late fall.
In Colorado, how the variant might have arrived is a mystery. Other highly transmissible variants like U.K, Brazil, and South Africa have been found in Colorado.