NC lab identifies state’s first case of Denmark ‘Cluster Five’ variant largely linked to minks

NORTH CAROLINA — MAKO Medical Labs have identified North Carolina’s first case of the Denmark “Cluster Five” variant, which has been largely linked to minks.

Researchers are concerned because early data shows that strain appears to be stronger against antibody treatments.

According to the World Health Organization, initial observations of the variant suggest the severity and transmission are similar to that of other circulating SARS-CoV-2 viruses.

Health officials said this variant, however, had a combination of mutations that had not been previously seen and are not as well understood.

The lab also identified additional cases of the variant that originally emerged in the United Kingdom, bringing the total number of cases in North Carolina to five.

Officials at MAKO Laboratory said the UK variant appears to be the predominant variant and makes up the overwhelming majority of the latest variant cases.

“As we continue our sequencing of indicated samples, we have found a continued rise in variant occurrences,” Steve Hoover, Vice President of Laboratory Operations at MAKO Medical said. “Over the past week, indicated samples are now returning positive variant cases at a fifty-percent rate, up from a twenty-five percent rate last week. The information we are collecting is shared directly with state health officials to assist in understanding the presence of the variants in communities across the country.”