Will the new COVID strain make the vaccine useless? Experts weigh


Scientists have been working hard to develop COVID vaccines for the past nine months, but just as they began to spread around the world, a new strain of the virus was detected in the UK last week. This new strain of COVID seems to be spreading so fast that many European countries are closing their borders to the UK to prevent it from spreading further. Although there is still no evidence that the new strain is in the United States, Americans are fearful of the risks it poses, including how it will affect the vaccine. Read on to find out what experts have to say about the new strain and the already approved Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, and to see what another major voice says about the mutation, see A White House official just gave this warning about the new COVID mutation .

Overall, experts are optimistic that the existing vaccine will be effective against this new strain of COVID. Chief Scientific Adviser to the United Kingdom Patrick Vallance said at a news conference on Saturday that the vaccines appear to be sufficient to generate an immune response to the recent strain of the virus. On Meet the press on December 20, the president-elect Joe Biden’s nominated for surgeon general, Vivek Murthy, MD, said that there is “no reason to believe that the vaccines that have been developed will not be effective against this virus.” In addition, the scientist of the World Health Organization Soumya Swaminathan, MD, said at the December 21 press briefing, “So far, although we have seen a number of changes, a number of mutations, none have had a significant impact on the susceptibility of the virus to any of the currently used therapeutics. , medicines or vaccines under development and it is hoped that this will continue to be the case. “

Vin Gupta, MD, from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, shared a similar sentiment in an interview with CNBC Squawkbox Asia on December 21: “There is a strong belief here that the vaccine, as it exists today … will be effective in preventing infection in this new strain in England, in addition to the old strain we have been fighting for months now.”

Gupta explained that, genetically, the strain is likely to be quite similar to previous variants. The effectiveness of these vaccines in producing antibodies that can truly attack and destroy COVID-19 is extraordinary, Gupta said. “I don’t expect these minor genetic changes … to affect vaccine performance in the short term.”

However, Gupta notes that future versions of the vaccine should be updated, as should the flu vaccine, which varies slightly from year to year. “I think this could have an impact on our future business, but it will not have a short-term impact,” Gupta said. “It will not impact the current effectiveness of vaccines to end the pandemic.” Read on to find out more about the new COVID strain and see if you are eligible to get vaccinated sooner, check if you did this in 2020, you can get your COVID vaccine sooner.

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Scientist studying COVID-19 in the laboratory

COVID-19 has undergone several minor mutations and variations before, which is normal for a virus. However, experts have noted that the newest variant in the UK has more mutations than any of the other strains, which could be a cause for concern. “I’m worried, because from the beginning of this, I’ve seen mutations appear all over the world, many thousands of them, but it has more mutations than any variant I’ve seen before.” Danny Altmann, a professor of immunology at Imperial College London, told CNBC Squawk Box Europe.

Altmann says the 17 mutations in the strain “seem to explain the uncontrollability we’ve seen in London and the South East in recent months.” And for more up-to-date COVID news delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Side view of woman wearing face mask and coughing while sitting at bus station
ArtistGNDphotography / iStock

At a press conference on Saturday, the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson he said that “although there is considerable uncertainty”, the new variant “can be up to 70 percent more transmissible than the old variant”. He noted that “these are given early and are subject to review.”

The new strain has become the dominant form of COVID in London and the south-east and east of England, according to Vallance, accounting for over 60% of infections. To see what shocked doctors about the vaccine, see “One thing about the COVID vaccine,” which surprises even doctors.

woman wearing a disposable mask on public transportation during the coronavirus pandemic

At the same press conference, Vallance said: “We believe [the new strain] He added that although British officials were the ones to identify the new strain, they are not positive where it came from. “Maybe it started here, we’re not sure,” he said. said.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cases of the new strain have been identified in Australia, Denmark and the Netherlands, while health officials in Italy and Gibraltar say they have arrived. To find out about the content of the vaccine, see This is really in the COVID vaccine.

In the hospital The sick male patient is sleeping on the bed.  The heart rate monitor is on his finger.

In a statement, the medical director of England Chris Whitty He said: “There is no current evidence to suggest the new strain is causing a higher mortality rate or that it affects vaccines and treatments, although urgent work is being done to confirm this.”

COVID-19 vaccine vials lined up.

The virus has been mutant since its inception and will not stop soon. “This virus moves like all viruses. The flu moves the most. And what viruses do is change their surface proteins. And once they do, the antibodies we’ve developed against these surface proteins no longer work. it works, ”the former FDA commissioner said Scott Gottlieb, MD, said further Make the nation on December 20.

“The flu moves very quickly, changes its surface proteins very quickly. So we have to constantly get a new flu vaccine. Some viruses, like measles, don’t change their surface proteins,” Gottlieb explained. seems somewhere in the middle. It will move and change its surface proteins, but probably slowly enough for us to develop new vaccines. “And to see why this expert has not yet made his mark, see why Dr. Fauci has not yet done so. received the vaccine.