A new and highly transmittable variant has been identified within the state, the Alabama Department of Public Health confirmed Wednesday, January 27.

The ADPH says the COVID-19 variant, originally found in the UK, has been identified in three Alabama residents. SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.1.7 has been confirmed in two residents of Montgomery County and one Jefferson County resident. These are the first cases of the variant within Alabama.

"Viruses mutate, and due to surveillance, it was expected that cases would be found in Alabama. At this time, many infectious disease experts and the CDC have indicated that the current vaccine should be effective against the U.K. strain," the ADPH said in a release Wednesday.

"However, this is still being studied. Currently, the U.K. variant has not definitively been linked to worse outcomes of the disease. As this variant is recent to the United States, it is important to follow the outcome of persons infected with this variant."

The ADPH advises residents to continue practicing social distancing, wearing masks, and utilizing frequent hand washing as a preventative measure against the novel Coronavirus.

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