2 new COVID-19 variants detected in Rock County

This scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (orange)—also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19—isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells (green) cultured in the lab.

JANESVILLE, Wis. — Two new COVID-19 variants have been found in Rock County.

According to a news release, the Rock County Health Department is reporting the SARS-CoV- 2 Variants P.1 and B.1.351 have been detected in the county.

Variant P.1 was first found in travelers from Brazil in January, while the B.1.351 strain was found in South Africa last October.

Experts said both strains spread more rapidly and easily than the original strain of COVID-19, and officials believe antibodies from a previous infection may not provide protection against infection from these variants.

The UK variant of the virus was found in Rock County last month.

You can find more about COVID variants on DHS’ website.