Michael Cardinal, FISM News
The South African COVID-19 variant (B.1.351), which has proven to be highly transmissible, was identified by health officials in two individuals in South Carolina on Thursday.
Neither individual who tested positive in South Carolina had traveled outside the country or had connection to each other, which have many experts speculating that these are not isolated incidents. Dr. Krutika Kuppalli, an infectious diseases physician at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, told The Associated Press, that this news was “frightening, because if these two unrelated people got the strain, it’s probably more widespread.”
This is now the third new variant that has been identified in the U.S., along with the variants that originated in the U.K. (B.117) and Brazil (P.1). While none of these new strands have shown signs of being more deadly, they have all looked to be more contagious.
This South African strain has experts on high alert as vaccines seem to be less effective against it. The Noravax vaccine, which is still in trial, only had a 49% efficacy rate on this strand while it provided a much higher rate of efficiency on the U.K. variant (90%).
These developments in the fight against COVID-19, comes to light as the Biden administration continues to try to solidify a plan to get the virus under control.
On Monday, Biden announced a new goal of 150 million vaccines in his first 100 days in office, but then backed off this claim on Tuesday as he restated a goal of 100 million. This plan of one million vaccinations a day falls directly in line with what was already being done under the Donald Trump’s administration. In spite of this, Biden’s team had claimed that the they were left with no plan and that the virus would get worse before it get’s better.