Variants

Note: VDH recently made some changes to the Variants dashboard. To learn more, please visit the Website Change Log page.

This dashboard includes only Variants of Concern, Variants of Interest and Variants Being Monitored currently listed on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) SARS-CoV-2 Variant Classifications and Definitions and identified to be circulating in Virginia during the pandemic. Data presented here will not match exactly to the data presented by CDC. Viruses constantly change through mutation. A variant has one or more mutations that sets it apart from other variants in circulation. Variants of a virus are expected to occur naturally over time. SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that causes COVID-19. Multiple variants of SARS-CoV-2 have been documented in Virginia, the United States and globally throughout this pandemic. Scientists categorize variants based on how concerning they are. Other variants that are not presently being tracked are circulating in the population. Visit SARS-CoV-2 Variant Classifications and Definitions for more information on variant classification. A variant of the virus that causes COVID-19 is considered to be concerning when it increases the risk to human health. The risk to human health could be because a variant may be able to:

  • Spread more easily
  • Cause more severe illness
  • Escape the immune protection provided by available COVID-19 vaccines or by natural infection with the virus that causes COVID-19
  • Make viral tests less accurate
  • Make some treatments less effective

Click here for more information on Variants of the Virus that Causes COVID-19.

On this dashboard, colored bars show the percentage of COVID-19 infections caused by a variant reported in Virginia since September 1, 2021. Case count data, reflected by a red line, are presented by week of symptom onset; variant infections are shown by week of specimen collection.

Variants are identified by additional laboratory testing of specimens which are positive for COVID-19. If an individual person is infected with two separate variants over time, then they will appear as two separate infections on this dashboard.

To access this content's data tables, follow the links below:

The dashboard reflects the percentage of variant infections reported to VDH each week by laboratories that sequence COVID-19 and report to GISAID. This sequencing of COVID-19 variants is only performed on a small proportion of positive tests statewide; not all laboratories that sequence report to GISAID.

GISAID Initiative Logo

We would like to thank the GISAID Initiative and are grateful to all of the data contributors, i.e. the Authors, the Originating laboratories responsible for obtaining the specimens, and the Submitting laboratories for generating the genetic sequence and metadata and sharing via the GISAID Initiative, on which this information is based. GISAID data provided on this website are subject to GISAID’s Terms and Conditions.

Elbe, S., and Buckland-Merrett, G. (2017) Data, disease and diplomacy: GISAID’s innovative contribution to global health. Global Challenges, 1:33-46. DOI: 10.1002/gch2.1018 PMCID: 31565258.

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