South Carolina officials have announced the United States’ first two confirmed cases of a more contagious coronavirus strain first spotted in South Africa. CNN repots that one case was confirmed to the department late yesterday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the other was identified by the state’s public health laboratory. The CDC said in a statement it was aware of the cases. One piece of the statement read, “We have no evidence that infections by this varient cause more sever disease.” The agency said it would continue working with labs around the country to genetically sequence samples of the virus.
The variant also known as B.1.351 has raised concerns over being more transmissible than other versions of the virus, and potentially evading the immune protection offered by antibodies. Dr.Brannon Traxler, the health department’s interim public health director said in a statement to citizens of South Carolina, ”The fight against this deadly virus is far from over.”