Researchers at the University of Miami say that they have detected variants from California, Brazil and the U.K. in South Florida over the last two weeks.
According to a press release, a team at the Miller School of Medicine has tested nearly 500 positive COVID-19 samples from patients at UHealth Tower, Jackson Memorial hospitals, and UM's campus.
They found that approximately 25% of infected patients in Miami-Dade over the last two weeks "were stricken with the more contagious U.K. variant."
In addition, the researchers identified three samples of the Brazilian variant, which according to the press release "could be one of the first times that strain has been identified in South Florida."
Associate Professor Dr. David Andrews is leading the University's variant tracking initiative. "We are seeing a small potpourri of variants out there," he said.
"We've encountered the California variant, the U.K. variant, and a number of variants of concern. But this is what one would expect from Miami-Dade County, which has such an international population."
The researchers are currently working to genetically sequence as many positive Covid-19 samples as they can to find out "whether new strains of the virus are circulating locally."
“I’d like to think that by looking actively and early at genetic variants that we’ll be able to be proactive and catch things ahead of time,” Dr. Andrews said.
“This will be a lot easier to handle with knowledge, rather than backtracking. We’re trying to stay ahead of the curve, and it’s very important to do that now," he added.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Florida currently has more cases of the U.K. variant than any other state as well as detection of the variant from Brazil.