SARS-CoV-2 Variants of Concern in the United States | Infectious Diseases | JN Learning | AMA Ed Hub [Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]

SARS-CoV-2 Variants of Concern in the United States—Challenges and Opportunities

Educational Objective
To identify the key insights or developments described in this article
1 Credit CME

On January 10, 2020, the first genomic sequence of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) isolated from a patient in Wuhan, China, was posted online. As of February 3, 2021, 468 000 sequences of SARS-CoV-2 from COVID-19 cases globally have been uploaded into publicly available databases, including more than 93 000 from individuals in the US. SARS-CoV-2, like other RNA viruses, constantly changes through mutation, with new variants occurring over time. Generally, when new variants become more common, they do so because of some selective advantage to the virus. Among the numerous SARS-CoV-2 variants that have been detected, only a very small proportion are of public health concern because they are more transmissible, cause more severe illness, or can elude the immune response that develops following infection and possibly from vaccination. In the recent months, 3 specific viral lineages reflecting variants of concern have emerged and merit close monitoring: B.1.1.7, B.1.351, and P.1.

Sign in to take quiz and track your certificates

Buy This Activity

JN Learning™ is the home for CME and MOC from the JAMA Network. Search by specialty or US state and earn AMA PRA Category 1 CME Credit™ from articles, audio, Clinical Challenges and more. Learn more about CME/MOC

Article Information

Corresponding Author: Henry T. Walke, MD, MPH, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Rd, Atlanta, GA 30333 (hfw3@cdc.gov).

Published Online: February 17, 2021. doi:10.1001/jama.2021.2294

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.

References
1.
World Health Organization. Weekly epidemiological update—2 February 2021. Accessed February 5, 2021. https://www.who.int/publications/m/item/weekly-epidemiological-update---2-february-2021
2.
Faria  NR , Claro  IM , Candido  D ,  et al. Genomic characterisation of an emergent SARS-CoV-2 lineage in Manaus: preliminary findings. Virological.org. Published January 12, 2021. Accessed January 31, 2021. https://virological.org/t/genomic-characterisation-of-an-emergent-sars-cov-2-lineage-in-manaus-preliminary-findings/586
3.
Horby  P , Huntley  C , Davies  N ,  et al. NERVTAG note on B.1.1.7 severity. Paper presented at: SAGE meeting report; January 21, 2021. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/955239/NERVTAG_paper_on_variant_of_concern__VOC__B.1.1.7.pdf
4.
Wibmer  CK , Ayres  F , Hernamus  T ,  et al.  SARS-CoV-2 501Y.V2 escapes neutralization by South African COVID-19 donor plasma.   BioRxiv. Preprint published online January 19, 2021. doi:10.1101/2021.01.18.427166Google Scholar
5.
Wang  P , Liu  L , Iketani  S ,  et al.  Increased resistance of SARS-CoV-2 variants B.1.351 and B.1.1.7 to antibody neutralization.   BioRxiv. Preprint published online January 26, 2021. doi:10.1101/2021.01.25.428137Google Scholar
6.
Galloway  SE , Paul  P , MacCannell  DR ,  et al.  Emergence of SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7 lineage—United States, December 29, 2020-January 12, 2021.   MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2021;70(3):95-99. doi:10.15585/mmwr.mm7003e2 PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
7.
Washington  NL , Gangavarapu  K , Zeller  M ,  et al.  Genomic epidemiology identifies emergence and rapid transmission of SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7 in the United States.   medRxiv. Preprint published online February 7, 2021. doi:10.1101/2021.02.06.21251159Google Scholar
8.
Firestone  MJ ,  et al.  First identified cases of SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.1.7 in Minnesota—December 2020–January 2021.   MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. Published online February 17, 2021. doi:10.15585/mmwr.mm7008e1Google Scholar
9.
Mwenda  M , Saasa  N , Sinyange  N ,  et al.  Detection of B.1.351 SARS-CoV-2 variant strain—Zambia, December 2020.   MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. Published online February 17, 2021. doi:10.15585/mmwr.mm7008e2Google Scholar
If you are not a JN Learning subscriber, you can either:
Subscribe to JN Learning for one year
Buy this activity
jn-learning_Modal_Multimedia_LoginSubscribe_Purchase
Close
If you are not a JN Learning subscriber, you can either:
Subscribe to JN Learning for one year
Buy this activity
jn-learning_Modal_Multimedia_LoginSubscribe_Purchase
Close
With a personal account, you can:
  • Access free activities and track your credits
  • Personalize content alerts
  • Customize your interests
  • Fully personalize your learning experience
Education Center Collection Sign In Modal Right
Close

Name Your Search

Save Search
Close
With a personal account, you can:
  • Track your credits
  • Personalize content alerts
  • Customize your interests
  • Fully personalize your learning experience
jn-learning_Modal_SaveSearch_NoAccess_Purchase
Close

Lookup An Activity

or

Close

My Saved Searches

You currently have no searches saved.

Close
With a personal account, you can:
  • Access free activities and track your credits
  • Personalize content alerts
  • Customize your interests
  • Fully personalize your learning experience
Education Center Collection Sign In Modal Right
Close