HOUSTON - Houston Methodist is one of the few hospital-based labs doing genome sequencing detecting the different variant of COVID-19.
On Monday, local doctors are now talking about a French variant that is going undetected.
It’s the first new variant that is not detectible by our current tests.
Dr. Linda Yancey, who’s an infectious disease specialist at Memorial Hermann, says the new mutation of the Covid-19 virus that unlike the others.
"They had found a cluster of what was obviously Covid, but was testing negative with the standard tests," said Yancey.
She says French health officials are still trying to determine whether it’s more infectious or deadly.
With viruses, comes mutations and so far, the Greater Houston area has seen a majority of them.
The major variants from the UK, South African and Brazil are already in Houston.
With Houston Methodist seeing a doubling of the U.K. variant week over week.
"We are seeing a number of different variants," said Dr. Dr. Randall Olsen with Houston Methodist. "There are four that are defined by the CDC and all are present in Houston patients."
With Houston considered to be an international travel hub, doctors here believe there’s a good chance that this new French variant is in the U.S. and much is not known yet about the new variant.
The good news Dr. Nancy says is that new mutation is already on the radar of testing and vaccine manufacturers.
She says in the likelihood that the new strain is not viable with the current vaccines on the market, booster shots will be developed.
"If we continue to get vaccinated at our current rate, we will be 50% herd immunity by May, 70% by June, and 90% by the end of July, " said Yancey.