DOH lab detects more COVID-19 variants

Coronavirus

(NIAID/NIH via AP)

HONOLULU (KHON2) — DOH officials say a new variant, named B1.1.7, may be present in Hawaii.

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The Department of Health’s State Laboratories Division (SLD) revealed that nine COVID-19 samples and four specimens have been found to contain parts of what health officials believe is the new variant of the virus.

Of the nine variants identified, one was from Maui, one from Kauai and seven were from Oahu.

Health officials say the B1.1.7 variant is known to be highly transmissible. 

Expedited whole genome sequencing (WGS) is being performed on the specimens containing the molecular clue to determine whether they are the B1.1.7 variant. Sequencing is expected to be completed late this week. DOH says they will announce results immediately upon completion.

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