Genomics researchers at Stanford University have confirmed California’s first two cases of the South African coronavirus variant in Alameda and Santa Clara counties, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday.
The 501Y.V2 variant is one of several recent mutations of the virus, most of which involve changes to its spike protein — the part of the virus that enables it to enter human cells — that may make it more contagious and slightly more resistant to vaccines.
During a Wednesday briefing in Fresno County, Newsom said:
“The issue of mutations is top of mind, not only here in the state of California, across this nation, but increasingly around the globe.”
The state has also confirmed 159 cases of the Covid-19 variant that originated in the United Kingdom and 1,203 cases of the two variants that originated on the West Coast, according to Newsom.