The good news is that most researchers believe the vaccine will continue to work, but only in the event that Pfizer and Moderna test their vaccines against this new variant.
Microbiologist Susan Weiss, PhD. He has been studying coronaviruses for four decades and is now co-director of the Pence Center for Research on Coronavirus and other emerging pathogens.
As for this new alternative, she says there is still a lot to learn, and whether or not it makes the virus spread faster or not, this has not been scientifically proven yet.
“I mean, what if the virus is spreading faster because people are less anxious and go to parties? It’s a reciprocal relationship, not an observation of cause and effect,” said Dr. Weiss.
She also believes that it is very unlikely that the variant will significantly affect the vaccine because the vaccine develops antibodies against multiple parts of what is known as the spike protein found on the virus, not just that mutated part.
Vaccine makers Pfizer and Moderna are still putting it to the test. She said, “It’s a good thing to do but I’m pretty sure they’re not going to show anything different.”
Viruses are constantly changing. Dr. Weiss said the best thing we can do right now is to slow the spread of the virus, giving it less chance to mutate.
“Instead of being afraid of him, keep doing what we’re supposed to do anyway,” said Dr. Weiss.
The only reason this variant was found is because the researchers were testing more samples of the virus.
The CDC will ramp up testing in January. Weiss says they will also start looking for this alternative in their research.
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