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FACT FINDERS: How do you know which variant you have?

Published: Sep. 2, 2021 at 5:42 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - If you test positive for COVID-19 how do you know if you have the Delta variant?

Dr. Sean Elliott with Tucson Medical Center says if you get a positive result from a COVID test it will not tell you if you have Delta or another variant. But that does not mean we are not monitoring variants.

Researchers are doing this through genome sequencing. On a very basic level, that just means researchers are looking at the order of the genetic information in the virus to determine which variant it is or if it could be a new variant.

However, this is happening for surveillance only right now, not for individual purposes. Samples of viruses are sent to research centers so we can track which variants are predominant in our area.

Dr. Elliott says right now he would not be able to tell his next COVID positive patient exactly what they have but he could say what they likely have.

”It is far, far, far more likely than not that you have Delta variant verses any others but I cannot say that for a fact because that person’s virus will not be tested necessarily,” said Dr. Elliott.

He says in Arizona, genome sequencing shows Delta is accounting for more than 90% of new cases.

To see Arizona’s COVID-19 Sequencing Dashboard, click HERE.

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