Public health lab identifies 11 South African COVID-19 variant cases in S.C.

Public health lab identifies 11 South African COVID-19 variant cases in S.C.
MAKO Medical team members processing testing samples in the Henderson, NC laboratory. (Source: MAKO Medical)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WMBF) – A North Carolina lab has identified more of the South African COVID-19 variant in the Palmetto State.

MAKO Medical Laboratories has been helping states across the country sequence samples to identify variant cases. The lab helped South Carolina identify the UK variant in South Carolina last month.

MAKO released its latest COVID-19 variant data on Tuesday that showed it found 11 cases of the South African variant in South Carolina, and one case of the UK variant. The lab did not indicate exactly where those 11 cases were in South Carolina.

“Our sequencing efforts continue to follow reported trends of rising COVID-19 variants across the United States,” said Steve Hoover, Vice President of Laboratory Operations at MAKO Medical. “We value our partnerships with state health officials as we recognize the importance variant identifications have on the overall understanding of the virus and its mutation. We believe this work is vital to the health and safety of citizens across the United States.”

The nation’s first two cases of the South African variant were identified in South Carolina last month. The Department of Health and Environmental Control said the two cases were located in the Pee Dee and Lowcountry regions, they had no connection to one another and they had not traveled out of the country.

During a news briefing last week, state Epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell said that DHEC had found other cases that had been in close contact with those who had contracted the South African variant.

DHEC has been increasing its sampling in order to detect the variants.

The South African and UK variants are known to be more transmissible, but the currently available vaccines are effective against the variants.

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