It was bound to happen.

The COVID-19 variant that was first discovered in India has made its way to North Texas, according to NBC DFW.

Researchers with UT Southwestern Medical Center announced Thursday (May 20) that the variant was detected in the Dallas area for the first time. A spokesperson from Dallas County told the Dallas Morning News that both patients who caught the variant have no recent travel history.

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Jeffrey SoRelle, M.D., assistant instructor of pathology at UT Southwestern emphasized the importance of getting vaccinated to protect against the new variant:

The identification of the B.1.617.2 variant again reinforces the importance of vaccination - which helps slow the transmission of all types of virus and protects against more severe disease. In particular, the vaccines appear to provide protection against more severe disease and death, emphasizing the importance of continued efforts to encourage vaccination.

The B.1.617.2 variant was first identified in India back in October and has spread widely in the months since. Just last week, the World Health Organization dubbed the virus a variant of concern. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have yet to classify it as such.

The virus appears to be more contagious than earlier variants, but tests have shown vaccines are effective against it.

The U.K. variant is the dominant variant in North Texas, accounting for about 70% of sampled cases.

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