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COVID-19 variants of concern

As we learned last week, we’ve identified two COVID-19 variant strains of concern in Alberta. These were first identified in the United Kingdom and South Africa. Another variant of concern has been found in Brazil but that strain has not yet been detected in Alberta.

These strains have a higher infection rate, and there is a concern about the impact on our communities if such a COVID-19 variant virus became common.

We are monitoring this situation, and proactively building our capacity to do genetic analysis on samples to identify any arising variants to ensure our response is timely and effective.

Joining me to talk more about the variants of concern are:

  • Dr. Laura McDougall, Senior Medical Officer of Health,
  • Dr. Lynora Saxinger, Physician and Medical Lead, AHS Antimicrobial Stewardship, North, and co-chair of the Scientific Advisory Group, and
  • Dr. Graham Tipples, Medical Scientific Director, Public Health, Alberta Precision Laboratories.

In the vlog, Laura, Lynora and Graham explain what the COVID-19 variants of concern are, their potential risk to the health system, and how we monitor and test for them.