Miami hospital sees uptick in COVID-19 variant first identified in Colombia

B.1.621, a coronavirus variant first detected in Colombia, has been detected in about 10 percent of COVID-19 patients at Miami-based Jackson Health System, FOX News reported July 28.

Frequent travel between Colombia and Miami may be responsible for the recent uptick, health system officials said. 

"In the last week, 10 percent of our patients had the Colombian variant," Carlos Migoya, CEO of Jackson Health, told FOX. "Why? Because of the travel between Colombia and Miami." 

The strain was first identified in Colombia in January. In the U.S., B.1.621 made up about 2.1 percent of sequenced cases as of July 17, according to CDC data cited by The Washington Post. The agency has not labeled it as a variant of concern or a variant of interest. 

"The only time it becomes important is if it gives [the] virus selective advantage, which we've seen with [the] delta variant," said John Sellick, DO, professor of medicine at the University of Buffalo in New York. "We'll see with this one. What we have to see is two weeks from now, or four weeks from now, is this going to do another trick and wind up being more?" he told the Post

In the U.K., 16 cases of the variant have been reported, FOX reports. There, health officials consider it a "variant under investigation" and have said there's been no indication of community transmission so far, or that the strain causes more severe illness. 


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