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India variant of Covid-19 confirmed in two Iowa residents

DES MOINES — State health officials say two cases of a Covid-19 variant, commonly known as the India variant, have been confirmed in Iowa.

The cases were identified in two adults in southeast Iowa’s Jefferson County. According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, there is no evidence this strain of the virus is more easily transmitted or more likely to cause severe illness. Cases of the UK and Brazilian Covid-19 variants were previously confirmed in the state.

State officials say the public health department in Jefferson County is doing contract tracing and contacting people who may have been around the two adults who’ve tested positive for the India variant of Covid-19.

Jefferson County is home to Maharishi International University, founded in 1971 by a guru from India. A message posted on the university’s website from its president and medical faculty says the risk of contracting Covid-19 is high and the vaccines “are the most potent weapon we have against the spread of Covid-19.” A spokesperson for the county public health department says the India variant could have popped up anywhere in the county and be unrelated to travel. Health officials are not identifying the two Jefferson County individuals who tested positive for it.

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