Medical experts are calling it the "double mutant." It was first detected in India in March but is spreading quickly.
It has already been discovered in the United States; at least five cases have been detected in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The variant has two worrisome key mutations, L452R and E484Q. Doctors say the L452R mutation makes the virus more transmissible and E484Q has shown to be less likely to be neutralized by antibodies.
"Instead of your antibodies gear and protect you this is actually avoiding those antibodies," Dr. John Whyte, the chief medical officer of WebMD, said, "So it's a double whammy and that is what makes it more concerning."
The E484Q mutation was found in both the South Africa and Brazil variants.
Whyte said getting vaccines into the arms of Americans is a race against time.
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