Mutant virus strains are adding to the concerns for health officials as they contend with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. One strain that started in the United Kingdom is making its way across the globe. “That’s now found in the U.S. in over half our states,” says Nancy H. Nielsen, MD, PhD
, senior associate dean for health policy and former president of the American Medical Association. “Now there’s some evidence that it seems to be more lethal.” Nielsen says: “We’re watching other variants. There’s one in South Africa, there’s one in Brazil — and the very first case of the Brazil variant was discovered in Minneapolis. So that’s why as soon as vaccine is made available, people take it. Because if the virus has nowhere to go, it doesn’t keep spreading, and it does not mutate,” says Nielsen.