The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gives information about the B.1.1.7 variant and other variants of COVID-19.
1. What does the CDC know of the new variant?
Multiple COVID-19 variants are circulating globally. In the United Kingdom (UK), a new variant has emerged with an unusually large number of mutations. This variant seems to spread more easily and quickly than other variants. Currently, there is no evidence that it causes more severe illness or increased risk of death. This variant was first detected in September 2020 and is now highly prevalent in London and southeast England. It has since been detected in numerous countries around the world, including the United States and Canada.
2. Are there other variants?
In South Africa, another variant has emerged independently of the variant detected in the UK. This variant, originally detected in early October, shares some mutations with the variant detected in the UK. There have been cases caused by this variant outside of South Africa. This variant seems to spread more easily and quickly than other variants. Currently, there is no evidence that it causes more severe illness or increased risk of death.
Another variant recently emerged in Nigeria. CDC also is monitoring this strain but, at this time, there is no evidence to indicate this variant is causing more severe illness or increased spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria.
3. What does the CDC not know about the new variants?
Scientists are working to learn more about these variants, and more studies are needed to understand:
How widely these new variants have spread
How the new variants differ
How the disease caused by these new variants differs from the disease caused by other variants that are currently circulating.
4. What is the CDC learning about the new variants?
Public health officials are studying these variants quickly to learn more to control their spread. They want to understand whether the variants:
Spread more easily from person to person
Cause milder or more severe disease in people
Are detected by currently available viral tests
Respond to medicines currently being used to treat people for COVID-19
Change the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines. There is no evidence that this is occurring, and most experts believe this is unlikely to occur because of the nature of the immune response to the virus.
5.. What states have positively identified the B.1.1.7 variant of COVID-19?
The B.1.1.7 variant has been identified in California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, and New York with a total of 52 with the majority being in California and Florida.