Two variants of the coronavirus have made their way to Duke, the University announced Thursday.
Duke is employing a genome sequencing facility to identify COVID-19 variants of the on campus and in the Health System, a news release stated. A variant first identified in California was found in campus and health system samples after winter break, and a variant found in New York was identified in a health system sample this week.
Research has found the California variant could be more likely to cause severe illness or death, and the New York variant may be more resistant to some treatments and vaccines, but much is still unknown about the new strains of the virus.
Duke has not found variants from the United Kingdom, Denmark, South Africa or Brazil. Of the more than 200 Duke samples that have been sequenced, the original variant of SARS-CoV-2—which emerged in Wuhan, China at the end of 2019—has only been identified once.
The Durham County Health Department reported a case of the B.1.1.7 variant—also known as the U.K. variant—on Feb. 25.
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Preetha Ramachandran is a Trinity senior and diversity, equity and inclusion coordinator for The Chronicle's 118th volume. She was previously senior editor for Volume 117.