In the southeast area of Texas, the city of Houston is the only place in the country where all known variants of COVID-19 have been discovered.
Dr. Wesley Long, director of clinical microbiology at Houston Methodist says his hospital is one of a few in the US that actively does viral sequencing.
Houston Methodist has detected 20,453 coronavirus genomes in the Houston area since the onset of the pandemic, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Health officials in Houston have identified the three major variants of concern including the UK, South Africa, Brazilian variants, as well as two variants of concern, the New York and California variants.
"Before we even had any cases of COVID-19 in Houston we started preparing to not just be able to detect the virus in our patients, but also to be able to sequence and study that virus and have been doing that work non-stop for the past year" said Dr. Long.
Dr. Long says the current arsenal of coronavirus vaccines should perform well against the variants.
Dr. Long admits the Brazilian variant is a bit worrisome, but he says the current shots should prevent severe complications from the disease.