BATON ROUGE: A medical centre in Louisiana said Friday that it has identified the state's first two cases of a COVID-19 variant which has spread widely since being first identified in India.
Britain and the World Health Organisation consider it a variant of concern because experts think it may spread more easily than the original virus, LSU Health Shreveport said in a news release Friday.
The health system said the two samples were among more than 2,600 for which its Center for Emerging Viral Threats has decoded the genome.
That represents 56 per cent of all viral genomic surveillance data from Louisiana, the news release said.
Overall, the lab has processed 331,000 tests, and 7,600 were positive.
That's less than 5 per cent of Louisiana's total tests and less than 2 per cent of the positive tests in the state.
As of Friday, Louisiana has reported 7.3 million tests and 467,800 cases of COVID-19.
At least two other variants have shown up in Louisiana the one first identified in the United Kingdom and the one first found in Brazil.
LSU Health Shreveport said its lab found that the one first found in England remains dominant in North Louisiana, as in the rest of the United States.