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COVID-19 testing in Minnesota, where officials confirmed the first case of the P.1 variant in the U.S. Photo: Stephen Maturen via Getty

The first case of a coronavirus variant that originated in Brazil has reached the U.S. and was found in Minnesota, state officials announced Monday.

Why it matters: The P.1 variant is one of three spreading rapidly around the world, raising questions about the efficacy of vaccines on different COVID variants and the possibilities of new outbreaks.

Details: The infected person, a Twin Cities resident with "recent travel history to Brazil," got tested on Jan. 9 after feeling sick the week prior, officials said.

  • The state's variant surveillance program helped identify the variant. Each week, the program collects 50 random samples from testing partners to conduct whole genome sequencing and get a better sense of specific forms of the coronavirus in Minnesota.

The big picture: The P.1 variant was first detected in northern Brazil in mid-December. It went on to account for 42% of confirmed cases in Manaus, Brazil, in December, Reuters reports.

  • Immunologist Ester Sabino told Reuters it's likely the new variant is more transmissible than the original strain, though there are no conclusive findings.
  • Biden reinstated coronavirus-related travel restrictions on Brazil Monday.

Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: CDC director maintains Pfizer booster recommendation for high-risk workers — CDC director approves Pfizer boosters, adds eligibility for high-risk workers — FDA approves Pfizer boosters for high-risk individuals, people 65 and up.
  2. Health: America's mismatched COVID fears — Some experts see signs of hope as cases fall — WHO: Nearly 1 in 4 Afghan COVID hospitals shut after Taliban takeover — D.C. goes further than area counties with vaccine mandates.
  3. Politics: Bolsonaro isolating after health minister tests positive at UN summit — United Airlines says 97% of U.S. employees fully vaccinated — Mormon Church to mandate masks in temples.
  4. Education: Health care workers and teachers caught up in booster confusion — Asymptomatic Florida students exposed to COVID no longer have to quarantine — Education Department investigating Texas mask mandate ban.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Sep 23, 2021 - Science

Top science advisers: Prepare now for next pandemic

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

Now is a crucial time to lay the groundwork to quash future threats from pathogens, top science advisers in the U.S. and U.K. said this week.

Why it matters: Governments, industries and organizations are trying to bolster early warning systems, improve manufacturing supply chains for vaccines and treatments, and build infrastructure to be able to better contain future outbreaks — all while the current pandemic is still raging.

21 hours ago - Health

Moderna CEO: Pandemic could be over in a year

Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel. Photo: Nancy Lane/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald

Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel told the Swiss newspaper Neue Zuercher Zeitung on Thursday he thinks the COVID-19 pandemic could be over in a year due to increases in vaccine production, per Reuters.

What he's saying: "If you look at the industry-wide expansion of production capacities over the past six months, enough doses should be available by the middle of next year so that everyone on this Earth can be vaccinated," Bancel said.