Two new variants of COVID-19 has been identified in Mississippi.
According to the Mississippi State Department of Health, two separate California strains were identified—four cases of B.1.427 variant and three cases of B.1.429 variant.
A tweet from the MSDH states that, like other previously identified COVID-19 variant strains of concern, these strains have shown increased transmissibility, potential evidence of reduced protection from vaccines, and resistance to one or more monoclonal antibody treatments for COVID-19 infection.
The South African strain does appear to be more contagious than the original strain, but health officials say it doesn’t appear to be more deadly, unlike the UK variant. All three approved vaccines appear to maintain their full efficacy against the UK strain, while the South African strain has shown to be slightly more resistant to Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine. State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs clarified that while its impact on preventing symptomatic illness may be lessened, the one-shot vaccine still offers “robust protection” against severe illness, hospitalization and death.