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New coronavirus variant reported in Arizona for the first time

Arizona Department of Health Services announced on Friday that the P.1 variant of COVID-19, which was first identified in Brazil, has been detected.

PHOENIX — A new coronavirus variant has been identified in Arizona for the first time.

Arizona Department of Health Services announced on Friday that the P.1 variant, which was first identified in Brazil, was recently detected in three COVID-19 test samples across the state.

This is the second new strain mutation of the virus reported in Arizona. The B.1.1.7 variant that first identified in the United Kingdom was reported in Arizona in late January.

RELATED: Arizona reports first cases of new UK COVID-19 variant

The P.1 variant appears to be less vulnerable to our bodies’ immune systems, and there are signs it may be more contagious, according to health experts. Health officials also said previously infected patients could be more easily reinfected by the P.1 variant.

ADHS says the three FDA-approved vaccines are still effective against all strains, according to new research. New mutations in the virus are common as it moves across different populations.

The P.1 variant has been detected in at least 11 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

ADHS is encouraging continued social distancing and use of face coverings to limit the spread of all infectious diseases.

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