A New Coronavirus Variant From Brazil, Is Found In Minnesota

A new variant of the coronavirus first discovered in Brazil was detected in Minneapolis, Minn. The variant is believed to be more transmissible and could possibly infect those who previously contracted the virus.

STEPHEN MATUREN/AFP via Getty Images


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STEPHEN MATUREN/AFP via Getty Images

A new variant of the coronavirus first discovered in Brazil was detected in Minneapolis, Minn. The variant is believed to be more transmissible and could possibly infect those who previously contracted the virus.

STEPHEN MATUREN/AFP via Getty Images

A new variant of coronavirus first detected in Brazil has been confirmed in Minnesota. The variant was detected by the Minnesota Department of Health, which announced Monday that the new strain is thought to be more transmissible. This is the first documented case of the variant in the United States.

The variant, called P.1, has been circulating in Manaus, Brazil, since at least December, Michaeleen Doucleff previously reported. Scientists have been concerned about this variant because it contains a cluster of worrying mutations. Some of the mutations increase the virus’s transmissibility, making it spread more quickly. Others help the virus evade the body’s immune system, which could make it easier for individuals to contract COVID-19 a second time and hinder the efficacy of vaccines.

A resident of the Twin Cities metro area became ill at the beginning of January and a specimen was collected Jan. 9, an MDH news release said. After initially testing positive for COVID-19, the patient told case investigators they had traveled to Brazil before the onset of symptoms.

“These cases illustrate why it is so important to limit travel during a pandemic as much as possible,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Ruth Lynfield. “If you must travel, it is important to watch for symptoms of COVID-19, follow public health guidance on getting tested prior to travel, use careful protective measures during travel, and quarantine and get tested after travel.”