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COVID-19 vaccine will ‘very likely’ work on new strain of coronavirus, Fauci says

COVID-19 vaccine will ‘very likely’ work on new strain of coronavirus, Fauci says

Fauci Newsom

Dr. Fauci discusses the new variant of coronavirus detected in California.

Screenshot by Corinne Reichert/CNET

For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO website.

The new strain of the coronavirus discovered in the UK has now spread to California, Gov. Gavin Newsom revealed Wednesday. Speaking with Dr. Anthony Fauci on a Facebook Live video, the governor said one case was detected this morning in Southern California. The mutation appears to make the virus better at transmitting from one person to another, he said.

“It doesn’t seem to evade the protection that’s afforded by the antibodies that are induced by vaccines,” said Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “Even though you have one part of the virus that’s changed, it’s very likely that the other components of the vaccine-induced response will protect you.”

Read more: COVID-19 vaccine facts: Hidden costs, when you can get vaccinated, choosing vaccine brands

However, he said NIAID is keeping an eye on the mutation to make sure the coronavirus vaccine’s components protect fully against the components of the new strain.

“We’re following this extremely carefully, we have isolates from the UK, we’re working on it,” Fauci said.

The new coronavirus strain was discovered in the UK, with British government earlier saying the variant might be up to 70% more transmissible. The first US case was found in Colorado on Tuesday, followed a second case in the same state on Wednesday.

Fauci said he isn’t surprised a case has now emerged in California, given all the travel from people in the UK not only directly to the US, but also through Europe and Canada. The coronavirus is mutating now because there are so many cases, Fauci explained.

“RNA viruses, they make a living out of mutating, they love to mutate,” he said. “It’s replicating a lot, and when you replicate, you mutate.”

However, he said there’s no evidence the new strain increases the risk of getting sick or dying, and it also doesn’t evade the tests being used to detect infections in people.

“The other thing they’ve noted in the UK is that people who have been infected don’t seem to get re-infected by this,” Fauci added. “Which means the immunity that’s given to you [by recovering from the virus] … is protective against this particular strain.”

Read more: Oxford COVID-19 vaccine approved for emergency use in UK

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

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