WV gets federal funding to detect, combat COVID-19 variants

West Virginia

FILE – This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, yellow, emerging from the surface of cells, blue/pink, cultured in the lab. The sample was isolated from a patient in the U.S. According to an analysis by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published Tuesday, April 6, 2021 in JAMA Pediatrics, most children with a serious inflammatory illness linked to the coronavirus had initial COVID-19 infections with no symptoms or only mild ones, new U.S. research shows. (NIAID-RML via AP, File)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WOWK) – West Virginia will be receiving more than $1.8 million to help the state fight against COVID-19 variants.

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) says the $1,884,569 from the American Rescue Plan will help the state identify and track new variants, which he says are a concern because of they are more transmissible and more deadly than the original strain. So far, West Virginia has reported cases of the U.K. variant, the California variant, the South African variant and the Brazilian variant.

“As more and more West Virginians receive the COVID-19 vaccine, we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, but we must continue to listen to the guidance of medical professionals and the CDC to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and its variants,” Manchin said. “Several new COVID-19 variants have been found in West Virginia which is concerning because of the higher rate of transmission and mortality. This funding from the American Rescue Plan will help West Virginia identify and track new variants of COVID-19 virus to help us defeat this pandemic. I encourage all West Virginians to do their part to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by socially distancing, wearing masks and getting the COVID-19 vaccine when available.”

The senator’s office says the newer and potentially dangerous strains of COVID-19 make up more than half of the cases currently found in the U.S. According to Manchin, the allocated funding through the CDC will help the Mountain State effectively detect and track these variants through genomic sequencing. This sequencing is the process used to decode COVID DNA and detect mutations that could be deadly.

Manchin’s office says second portion of funding is expected to be invested over the next several years.

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