Scientists are increasingly focused on identifying variants of the coronavirus that could potentially wreak havoc in Maryland and the nation.
The Baltimore Sun reported Monday that there are spikes in cases in Baltimore and other Maryland counties that are tied to the variant first reported in the United Kingdom.
That variant is now the most dominant in Maryland and the U.S. It is considered to be highly infectious. But studies have shown that vaccines can fight against it.
Health officials say that people may eventually need to get booster shots or new vaccines.
State officials have approved emergency contracts with the University of Maryland, Baltimore and the Johns Hopkins University to study the genetic makeup of virus samples taken from infected people to identify variants.
Half of all cases across the country and in Maryland now result from variants.