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New variant of COVID-19 now in Ohio; experts say strain spreads faster and more easily

While there is still a lot to learn, doctors are confident the current COVID-19 vaccines protect against this strain.

A new variant of COVID-19 has made its way to Ohio, after SARS-CoV-2 was found in a patient in Columbus.

While there is still a lot to learn, doctors are confident the vaccine protects against this strain. 

Because this is a variant of COVID-19, both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine protect against it, which is why health experts continue to push for trust in the shot.

"So, that's still by far and away going to be our number one defense as we move forward. And now that we're seeing a number of people getting vaccinated, the thing I would say is that we need to encourage everyone to receive their vaccine when they are eligible because that's going to be coming very soon," ProMedica Vice President of Quality and Patient Safety Dr. Brian Kaminski said. 

Kaminski said treatments for this variant are similar, people who are getting this new strain are experiencing the same symptoms and the way hospitals are approaching patients remains the same.

"But, you know, our biggest fear is that somewhere along the way we're going to have a mutation, that creates a strain, that creates a more severe disease process. We already know that this is a bad disease, and if it were to make people even sicker than what we're seeing, that that is a concern that we have," Kaminski said.

While the way doctors initially care for patients is the same, researchers have noticed antibody treatments are not working for people who develop SARS-CoV-2. 

Additionally, the way the variant of the virus spreads is much more dangerous, as it spreads faster and more easily. On top of that, the more COVID-19 cases there are in a community, the more likely a variant of the virus will pop up. 

Ultimately, doctors are not sure how many variants there are of COVID-19.