Team of New Mexicans monitoring for COVID-19 variants

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- New Mexico is monitoring for various strains of COVID-19.

Dr. David Scrase, cabinet secretary of the New Mexico Human Services Department, said he and his team, along with scientists from across the state, are primarily watching for the strains that could cause the most damage.

Right now, they believe those strains originated from the United Kingdom, Brazil and South Africa.

"Every week, those labs are analyzing samples from COVID-19 tests to see if there is any type of genetic clue that these problematic strains are here, and spreading throughout our state," Scrase said. "But the main goal with this research is to find out of those variants would need different treatments and ultimately vaccines."

Scrase said some variants may more contagious than others, but he added that the evidence is not conclusive enough yet for that to be their main concern.

They really want to make sure the variants are no more deadly than any previously dominate strain in New Mexico.

"We’ve had probably 50 different variants in New Mexico of coronavirus, and we’ve seen some of them go from 1% of infections to 30 or 40 or 50%, and then come back down," Scrase said. "The good news is that so far the variants we’ve had in New Mexico haven’t been strong enough to put more people in the hospital, or cause more deaths or things like that, the things we’re most worried about."

Scrase said people can best protect themselves from COVID-19 variants by wearing a proper masks that fits snug on the face.

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