COLUMBIA, SC (WBTW) – DHEC reported the person recently diagnosed with the B117 coronavirus in South Carolina has a history of international travel.

This person is from the Lowcountry, DHEC reported.

The B117 strain spreads more easily than others, according to the CDC, and quickly became the dominant strain in the United Kingdom, where it was first identified. The CDC recently predicted the B117 strain will be the predominant strain in the US by March.

Doctors say the new mutation gets into our bodies and adheres quicker to our receptors. “What’s unique about this strain is it infects people a lot quicker,” said Dr. Vazquez Augusta University Chief of Infectious Diseases.

There is no evidence that this variant causes more severe illness or increased risk of death, or has an impact on the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We should assume that it is everywhere right now, this new variant,” said Dr. Tim Murphy director of UB Clinical and Translational Science Institute.

South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control officials held a briefing this afternoon to give an update on COVID-19, as well as the state’s vaccine roll out efforts.

Physician and Chief Medical Officer for COVID-19, Dr. Michael Kacka, provided the briefing.