Saturday, January 16, 2021

Will COVID-19 vaccines work on the new variant of the coronavirus?

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Will COVID-19 vaccines work on the new variant of the coronavirus?

Experts think so, but they are working to confirm it.

A variant of the coronavirus in the UK has raised alarm over the possibility that it can spread more easily. But even if that turns out to be true, experts say the COVID-19 vaccines being rolled out will likely still work on the variant.

Dr Anthony Fauci, America’s top infectious disease expert, said data from Britain indicates vaccines will still block the virus. But the United States will also be testing to be sure.

Viruses often undergo small changes as they reproduce and move through a population. In fact, the slight changes relate to the way scientists track the spread of a virus from one place to another.

But if a virus mutates enough, there is concern that current vaccines no longer offer as much protection. And while this is a possibility to watch out for over time with the coronavirus, experts say they don’t think it will be the case with the UK variant.

“I expect this will not be a problem,” said Moncef Slaoui, the chief scientific adviser for the US government’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign.

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