Coronavirus variant from South Africa could evade antibodies, expert warns

MIAMI – Dr. Aileen Marty warned Floridians who tested positive for antibodies gained from a past coronavirus that it isn’t enough to protect them from the new variant of the coronavirus from South Africa that emerged in the U.S. on Thursday.

Marty, an infectious disease expert at Florida International University, said the South Africa variant, which was detected in two unrelated cases in South Carolina, could spread to those who have already been infected with the original strain.

Public health officials reported the UK variant was spreading in Florida and the majority of the cases the Florida Department of Health reported were in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced a case of the strain from Brazil was first detected in Minnesota.

Related link: CDC map of US COVID-19 cases caused by variants

Marty also said the COVID-19 vaccines by Pfizer and Moderna still offer some protection from the more contagious variants first reported in South Africa, the United Kingdom and Brazil. The supply of COVID-19 vaccines remains limited in South Florida.

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