The Experts Weigh In...

By Allie Hogan
  1. The Experts Weigh In. Predictions
  2. The Experts Weigh In. Chart

The Experts Weigh In. Predictions

The Experts Weigh In.. of Best Life

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Will the New COVID Strain Make the Vaccine Useless? Experts Weigh In

Scientists have been hard at work developing COVID vaccines for the past nine months, but just as they started to roll out across the world, a new strain of the virus was detected in the U.K last week. This new strain of COVID seems to be spreading so rapidly that many European countries are shutting down borders to the U.K. to keep it from spreading further. While there's no evidence yet that the new strain is in the U.S., Americans are filled with fear over 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 leading voice says about the mutation, check out 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. Britain's Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance said in a press conference Saturday that the vaccines have appeared to be sufficient in generating an immune response to the recent strain of the virus. On Meet the Press on Dec. 20, President-elect Joe Biden's surgeon general nominee, Vivek Murthy, MD, said that there's 'no reason to believe that the vaccines that have been developed will not be effective against this virus as well.' Additionally, the World Health Organization's Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan, MD, said at press briefing on Dec. 21, 'So far, even though we have seen a number of changes, a number of mutations, none has made a significant impact on either the susceptibility of the virus to any of the currently used therapeutics, drugs or the vaccines under development and one hopes that will continue to be the case.'

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Vin Gupta, MD, of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, shared a similar sentiment in an interview with CNBC's Squawkbox Asia on Dec. 21: 'There is a strong belief here that the vaccine, as it exists today…will have effectiveness in warding off infection from this new strain in England, in addition to the old strain that we've been contending with for months now.'

Gupta explained that, at the genetic level, the strain is likely to be quite similar to the prior variants. 'The effectiveness of these vaccines in producing antibodies that can really attack and kill COVID-19 is extraordinary,' said Gupta. 'I don't expect these minor changes at the genetic level… to affect the vaccines' performance in the near term.'

However, Gupta does note that future versions of the vaccine may need to be updated, much like the flu vaccine that varies slightly from year to year. 'I do think that this might impact our future-facing work, but it's not going to impact the near term,' said Gupta. 'It will not impact the current vaccines' effectiveness in ending the pandemic.' Read on to find out more about the new COVID strain, and to see if you're eligible to get your vaccine earlier, check out If You Did This in 2020, You Can Get Your COVID Vaccine Sooner.

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The Experts Weigh In. Chart

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