WASHINGTON, D.C. – While new vaccines for the coronavirus is currently in the process of being rolled out across the country, scientists and medical professionals are finding themselves in the unenviable position of having to scramble for answers as a mutated coronavirus variant has been discovered in the U.K.
The new coronavirus variant has been described by doctors in the U.K. as being “more contagious” and “genetically distinct” from the current variants that citizens have been encountering in the U.S. and Europe. While viruses tend to mutate regularly, this particular strain – designated B.1.1.7 – is distinctive enough by its especially large number of mutations that it’s causing researchers to worry.
Alarms were raised today, however, when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that there was a very real possibility that the mutated U.K strain may already be on our shores and quietly circulating, undetected, throughout the population.
As for the Pfizer and Moderna-produced vaccines that are currently being administers to first-responders and others in the U.S., the obvious question is, will it remain effective against B.1.1.7. Currently, experts claim that the new mutated coronavirus strain will most likely not render current vaccines ineffective, but it could render them possibly ‘less’ effective depending on circumstances, especially when it comes to immunocompromised patients. However, that opinion could change as more research is conducted.
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Experts are saying that the same precautions being taken to help curb the spread of the normal coronavirus – masks, hand washing, and social distancing – should be equally-effective in helping to prevent the spread of the new mutated strain.