(CMR) A variant of the coronavirus, which was identified in South Africa, has now been found in the United States.
Two adults from different South Carolina regions tested positive for the new variant. Health officials said the cases did not appear connected and that neither of the two persons had traveled recently.
The B.1.351 variant has been identified in more than 30 countries, but these are the first cases of this variant identified in the United States. Other states have had cases of another variant, B.1.1.7, that was originally identified in the UK.
Scientists said both variants emerged independently and spread easier and quicker than the other variants.
Governor of South Carolina Henry McMaster tweeted that “this is important information for South Carolinians to have, but it isn't a reason for panic.”
Meantime, developers of another COVID-19 vaccine, Novavax, said it appeared to be safe and was 90 percent effective against the coronavirus. Scientists said the vaccine, which could be approved for use soon, is also effective against the variants identified in the UK and South Africa.