WASHINGTON | Two cases of the coronavirus variant, initially spotted in South Africa, have been identified for the first time in the United States, South Carolina authorities said Thursday.
• Read also: All the developments of the pandemic
Health officials in this southern state have not established a link between the two patients or identified any recent travel that may have caused the infections.
The variant from South Africa was already present in around thirty countries according to the World Health Organization.
Numerous mutations of the coronavirus have been observed since its appearance, the vast majority without consequence. However, some may give it an advantage for its survival, including greater transmissibility.
This is the case with the so-called British mutation, which could become the main variation of the virus circulating in the country by March, according to the American Centers for Disease Prevention and Control.
Scientists suspect that the South African and Brazilian variants are also likely to be more contagious.
But Pfizer and BioNTech laboratories announced Thursday that their vaccine retained the vast majority of its effectiveness against the main mutations of the English and South African variants of the coronavirus causing Covid-19.
The American biotechnology company Moderna had so far indicated that its vaccine against COVID-19 remained effective in particular against the British variant, but that a reduction in the protection against the South African variant had been observed.