INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – Starting this month, the CDC is stepping up their efforts to learn more about a new variant of COVID-19.

The strain was first found was in the U.K. While states like California and Colorado have detected cases, Indiana has not, but health officials say they are keeping an eye on the situation.

“We do know that this strain exists and we have seen the data come out the U.K. In regards to this strain,” Dr. Kristina Box, Indiana State Health Commissioner

Officials say while they believe the new strain is not deadlier, early indications show that it is more contagious.

“It’s certainly much more transmissible, people get infected for more easily,” Dr. Box said.

As health leaders learn more about the strain called B.1.1.7, Box says Indiana already has the ability to detect variants.

“Our lab is testing to see if we see strains of this particular virus here in the state of Indiana and we can test for a particular protein associated with that,” she said.

As vaccinations are taking place across the state and country, Box says at this point in time, there is no knowledge that vaccines are not effective on the new strain.

“But again, only time will tell that for us going forward, and if individuals who have been vaccinated end up infected then it’s great to test to see what strain that particular individual was infected with,” Box said.

Beginning this month, the CDC is asking states to send 10 samples bi-weekly to study sequencing of variants.