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More Treatment-Resistant, Contagious Brazil Variant Of The Coronavirus Found In Louisiana

The Louisiana Department of Health confirmed Thursday that the Brazil variant of the coronavirus is in Louisiana.

Genome testing of positive COVID-19 tests found the variant, also known as P.1, in two patients — one in the greater New Orleans area and the other in Southwest Louisiana.

A press release from the health department says the people who contracted the P.1 variant had not traveled recently. They also hadn’t received any COVID-19 vaccine doses.

Health officials suspect there are more undetected cases of the Brazil variant in the state.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called P.1 a variant of concern because it can spread more easily and it has been known to be resistant against some treatments for COVID-19. The press release reported that some data indicates that it may also be linked to a higher chance of developing severe illness.

The U.K. variant and the California variant have also been identified in Louisiana in previous months. The health department says all available COVID-19 vaccines protect against severe illness from these variants.

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Bobbi-Jeanne Misick reports on health and criminal and social justice issues. Previously she worked as a reporter and producer in the Caribbean, covering a range of topics from different LGBTQ issues in the region to extrajudicial killings in Jamaica and the rise of extremism in Trinidad and Tobago. Bobbi-Jeanne is a graduate of the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY. Before that, she worked as an assistant editor and pop culture writer for Essence.com.