Ohio — The first case of the COVID-19 variant first discovered in the U.K. has been detected in Ohio by University Hospitals (UH) researchers in Cleveland, according to the health system.
UH said its lab has discovered "several of the emerging COVID-19 variants, including the U.K. variant" in Northeast Ohio samples.
A spokesperson said Wednesday evening information regarding the other variants was not immediately available.
Ohio's first case of the variant first discovered in the U.K. was detected by UH Department of Pathology’s Translational Laboratory. Variants were detected in samples from as far back as Dec. 2020.
"Based on our surveillance approach, it is felt that at this time the variants represent a low proportion of COVID-19 circulating in Northeast Ohio," the spokesperson for the health system said.
UH said the number of cases it has detected of the variant first discovered in the U.K. was not immediately available. The Ohio Department of Health could not be reached for comment Wednesday evening after WCPN first reported the news.
Ohio lags behind many states in genetic sequencing of COVID-19. Of more than 75,000 sequenced COVID-19 samples uploaded to GISAID — a global database that tracks mutations in the virus — just more than 200 were from Ohio, an analysis tool by covidcg.org shows. As of Wednesday evening, 0 sequenced B.1.1.7 variants had been uploaded.
U.S. officials, including the nation’s top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, acknowledge the country's viral surveillance has been inadequate. Since the discovery in England of the more contagious variant last month, U.S. labs have scaled up their efforts to track variants.