‘The variants are becoming much more prominent,’ Reditus Lab identifies P.1 variant in Central Illinois

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PEKIN, Ill. (WMBD) — Reditus Laboratories has identified “several” COVID variants after 321 randomly selected positive COVID-19 samples were collected throughout March.

“70 percent were from the state of Illinois,” said Reditus CEO Dr. Aaron Rossi.

Rossi said 124 samples of those samples were of B.1.1.7 lineage, better known as the UK (United Kingdom) Variant; two were the South African (B.1.3.5.1) variant; 14 were the Santa Clara (B.1.4.2.7/4.2.9) variant and 16 were the Brazil (P.1) variant.

“The P.1, the Brazilian variant, we had 16 positives there, and 15 of them were from the state of Illinois,” said Rossi.

The demographics of the samples from the patients with Brazil (P.1) variant identified were from the Central Illinois area. This includes Peoria, Pekin, Morton, and Bloomington.

Rossi said the Brazil variant is believed to be the most concerning of all identified variants due to resistance of vaccines, potentially increased pathogenicity, and increased levels of transmissibility than the original strain.

Sara Sparkman, communications manager at the Tazewell County Health Department said some variants can leads to more severe COVID-19 cases.

“Some of them have a little bit higher tendency to cause people to have more serious illness and end up in the hospital,” said Sparkman.

Sparkman said the best defense is to get vaccinated.

“There’s more opportunity for people to be vaccinated. We’re really encouraging that younger set to take the opportunity and get vaccinated when you’re able,” said Sparkman.

She said masking and social distancing can help too. Dr. Rossi said the findings are concerning, since they often spread fast.

“The variants are becoming much more prominent,” Rossi said. “This is causing growing concern of experts and we need to identify the variants and make sure the public is aware.”

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