What will COVID-19 testing tell you about South African variant?

The U.K. and South African variants have already been confirmed, but a new study expands the Houston area's variant count to four.

Video Transcript

- If you test positive for COVID-19, you're likely not going to know what variant of the coronavirus you're infected with because simply put, those tests don't look for that information. The experts say, the science suggests no one variant will make you more sick than the others. As we live through a global pandemic, information surrounding COVID-19 can change every day. That's why Action 13 is committed to asking the smartest, most informed experts your questions every chance we get. For example, do the new variants of the coronavirus change the way we end this health emergency?

ROBERT ATMAR: It's one of those things that if you look for it, one would predict that we're going to find it. It really has no greater implications for us other than it re-emphasizes the importance of trying to get our community vaccinated.

- Dr. Robert Atmar with Baylor College of Medicine says the priority right now is stopping COVID-19 from spreading in our community with vaccines, social distancing, and face masks. The professor explains, if we continue slowing it, the virus can't produce variants. He says Pfizer and Moderna's approved vaccines offer you protection. If you can, get vaccinated. Don't get distracted by talks of variants.

ROBERT ATMAR: Even though the vaccines may not work quite as well, they still have been preventing the serious complications, the need for hospitalization, or people getting really sick with the COVID-19. So even if it only knocks it back down to the point where it causes a milder respiratory illness, that's still a major step up.

- The doc went on to say that there is light at the end of the tunnel. That this is not the time to let your guard down. Keep practicing good behavior, social distancing, to keep you and your family safe.