The first case of a coronavirus variant that originated in Brazil has reached the U.S. and was found in Minnesota, state officials announced Monday.
Why it matters: The P.1 variant is one of three spreading rapidly around the world, raising questions about the efficacy of vaccines on different COVID variants and raises the possibilities of new outbreaks.
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Details: The infected person, a Twin Cities resident with "recent travel history to Brazil," got tested on Jan. 9 after feeling sick the week prior, officials said.
The state's variant surveillance program helped identify the variant. Each week, the program collects 50 random samples from testing partners to conduct whole genome sequencing and get a better sense of specific forms of the coronavirus in Minnesota.
Immunologist Ester Sabino told Reuters it's likely the new variant is more transmissible than the original strain, though there are no conclusive findings.
Biden reinstated coronavirus-related travel restrictions on Brazil Monday.
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