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Tuesday, 9 March 2021

COVID variants spreading through state

Credit: WAAY ABC Huntsville, AL
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COVID variants spreading through state
COVID variants spreading through state
COVID variants spreading through state

That covid variant data is gathered.

Alabama now has 22 confirmed cases of the covid variant that was first identified in the u-k!

At least one of those cases is here in madison county!

Just last month -- the c-d-c ramped up its screening for variants throughout the u-s and here in alabama.

Waay31's megan reyna joins us live outside huntsville hospital.

She learned more about the screening process -- and why madison county may have more cases than we know?

Right now - the alabama department of public health is working with the c-d-c and private labs to screen for variants.

While it is confirmed at least one case is here in madison county -- doctor karen landers with a-d-p-h said the c- d-c is not releasing specific data for each county -- meaning there could be more.

Landers says:"i think the most important message right now is that we are actively engaged in surveillance and that we are not just doing surveillance with just one singular laboratory doing sequencing."

In alabama 1,778 positive covid-19 cases have been sequenced for covid variants.

That's .366 percent of cases in our state!

Out of those cases screened -- the c-d-c has confirmed 22 cases of the variant first identified in the u-k.

But there are two ways the state is screening for mutations.

One is through sequencing -- which means a certain number of positive covid tests are sent to the c-d-c or labs.

Landers says: "the other is that if there are specimens that if when they are being tested by pcr show a slightly different pattern around the spike protein that might indicate a variant, again there are some platforms, some laboratory a slightly different pattern, that could potentially indict a mutant."

But the u-s only recently started ramping up screening.

Hassoun says: "definitely the united states, in general, we are running behind in the screening process for mutations.

And unfortunately, that applied to a lot of different things as well."

Dr. ali hassoun -- an infectious disease specialist for huntsville hospital says the c-d-c was screening less than one percent of cases.

According to the c-d-c -- it began regularly receiving covid- 19 samples from state health departments and other health agencies in november.

Then on january 25 -- it scaled up the process to receive 750 samples a week.

Hassoun says: "so their aim now as they try to get more funding, to go up to 10 percent of the virus to be screened."

Hassoun points out the u-k has consistently been screening 10 percent of positive cases throughout the pandemic.

South africa is now screening at least five percent.

He says its important the u-s continues to ramp up this process.

Hassoun says: "it's very important to detect these changes very early to take precautions if you can or prepare for this."

By knowing more about mutations in the virus -- hassoun dr. landers says there are companies working on covid-19 tests to detect variants.

This would be different from the p-c-r and rapid tests available now.

But so far, no companies have filed for


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