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Virginia reports first cases of California COVID-19 variants

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CA— Health officials in Virginia have reported the first cases in the state of a highly contagious coronavirus variant that first emerged in California last summer.

The discovery of the two California variants, known as B.1.427 and B.1.429, in Virginia means there have been a total of four variants found in the state, including variants first discovered in South Africa and the United Kingdom.

The Virginia Department of Health said in a news release that the California variants are associated with increased person-to-person transmission of COVID-19. The variants were found in samples collected from Virginia residents between December 2020 and February 2021.

The CDC has said the B.1.427 and B.1.429 variants are more contagious, more likely to evade therapies and in comparison to the original strain are moderately more resistant to antibodies from vaccination and natural infection.

The California variants may be about 20% more transmissible, according to the CDC.

State health officials said there is no evidence at this time that infections with the variants cause more severe disease.

In total, state health officials have reported 176 cases of coronavirus variants in Virginia.

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