Nebraska DHHS Partners with CHI Health and Creighton University to Test COVID-19 Variants

Nebraska DHHS Partners with CHI Health and Creighton University to Test COVID-19 Variants

Doctors want to know how many COVID-19 cases are connected to new variants. Right now, they know the U.K. variant, a more contagious strain of COVID-19 is in the metro.

“It does appear that the B117 is becoming more prevalent in our region,” Creighton professor of Medical Microbiology and Immunology Dr. Michael Belshan said. Out of the variants, Creighton and CHI detected, 80% were the strain first found in the U.K.

Tierney said they have one of three labs in the state to help find new strains. Nebraska Public Health and the UNMC College of Public Health have the other labs. “Every brain in epidemiology and public health and clinical medicine and laboratory medicine have to pull together,” Tierney said.

“It’s actually extremely expensive to do this and so it’s wonderful to get some additional funding and to be able to provide DHHS with this additional data,” said Dr. Maureen Tierney, the assistant dean of public Health at Creighton. Nebraska DHHS contracted with Creighton University and CHI Health to test for variants.

“It’s more contagious, infects younger populations,” said CHI Health’s Infectious Diseases Physician Dr. Renuga Vivekanandan. There’s been one outbreak in Douglas County linked to the U.K. strain, at Rosewood Academy Childcare and Preschool in Northwest Omaha.

“Right now, we have these successful vaccines that we didn’t have back in November so it’s our new weapon against this.” Source The state’s chief medical officer Dr. Gary Anthone said that’s all the more reason to stay vigilant and sign up for the vaccine.

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