MDHHS confirms case of the COVID-19 India variant found in Clinton County

The new variant, called B.1.617, was initially detected in India with two mutations.
Published: Apr. 30, 2021 at 8:11 AM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - You may not be protected from the new COVID-19 variant that has turned up in mid-Michigan.

The India variant, B.1.617, has been found in Clinton County. The mid-Michigan District Health Department has confirmed one adult case after that person returned from India.

Dr. Paul Entler, VP of Quality and Performance Improvement for Sparrow Health Systems, says there is concern that this variant may resist vaccines. Entler said, “What happens is maybe someone got infected with one of the different variants the proteins may not look the same or the antibody so there is concern that these may be more infective.” He says when the virus comes into the body it tries to invade your immune system.

“It somewhat evades those that maybe have had immunity related to previous covid infections there is probably some immunity,” Entler said. “But it’s not a one-to-one because the particles are different.”

Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail said, “It’s got these two key mutations the variant, and it is actually not currently on the CDC list of variants of concern, but when you find variants you are going to want to look into those.”

Vail says even though it’s not on the CDC list yet, it’s still something to be concerned about. Dr. Entler agrees.

“As any virus mutates there is always the chance it’s going to invade immunity and those that are predisposed have diabetes or obesity or can even be healthy that’s the scary thing with COVID there is a lot of unknowns,” Entler said.

But the one thing he and Vail says we do know is that the vaccine is working.

“The vaccines has been effective at controlling all the variants to date as we’ve seen,” Vail said.

Right now 98% of the COVID-19 patients at Sparrow are unvaccinated. The others who are hospitalized only had one dose of the vaccine.

Entler said, “The longer that COVID is on the scene, we are going to continue to see variants as they mutate as those individuals get infected.”

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