Home Science Fauci Warns Infectious U.K. Covid-19 Variant Could Become Dominant U.S. Virus

Fauci Warns Infectious U.K. Covid-19 Variant Could Become Dominant U.S. Virus

Fauci Warns Infectious U.K. Covid-19 Variant Could Become Dominant U.S. Virus


Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S.’ top infectious disease official, told CNN that there is a risk the infectious variant of Covid-19 originally identified in the U.K. “might become dominant” in the United States, as he urged Americans to get vaccinated and follow public health advice to contain its spread.

Key Facts

Fauci, who has led the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for nearly four decades and now serves as President Biden’s chief medical adviser, said the U.K. variant “seems to be very efficient in spreading from person to person.”

Studies have shown that the variant, known as B.1.1.7, is significantly more infectious than existing strains and potentially more deadly.

Rapid vaccination and following public health measures such as social distancing and handwashing are the only ways to prevent new variants becoming dominant, Fauci said. 

“We have a possibility, and the capability, of trying to stop them from becoming dominant,” Fauci added.

So far, 611 cases of B.1.1.7 have been reported in 33 states, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with Florida and California standing out as particular hotspots.

Key Background

The spread of highly contagious variants of Covid-19— first identified in the U.K., South Africa and Brazil—could hamper efforts to bring the pandemic under control. Fauci previously said some strains render existing vaccines less effective, which has prompted several manufacturers to begin development on booster shots. Altering vaccines is easier and faster with the new mRNA vaccines in use for Covid-19 (Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech use this technology). Unlike many other vaccines which rely on weakened or dead viruses that must be grown in vast quantities, this molecule can simply be tweaked as needed and put back into the vaccine. “mRNA is fantastic because you can just swap a new strain and run with it,” Moderna’s CEO, Stéphane Bancel, previously told Forbes

What To Watch For

Fauci has warned that Americans should “absolutely not” attend or host Super Bowl parties this Sunday due to the risk of spreading the coronavirus. The expert said there was always a spike around big events like Christmas, New Year and Thanksgiving. 

What We Don’t Know

In January, the CDC predicted the U.K. variant would become the dominant U.S. strain by March. Britain’s vaccination program appears to be making a dent in transmission, meaning a successful U.S. rollout could alter this trajectory.

Further Reading

A New Variant Of Covid-19 Has Emerged In England – Here Is What It Could Mean For The Pandemic And Vaccines (Forbes)

The coronavirus variant first found in the UK ‘might become dominant’ in the US, Fauci says (CNN)

Fauci: Covid Vaccines Are Less Effective Against New Strains — But Still Worth Taking (Forbes)

Fauci Warns Of ‘Ominous’ New Covid-19 Strains, Says Biden Can Achieve Aggressive Goal Of Vaccinating 100 Million In 100 Days (Forbes)

Fauci Warns Against Super Bowl Parties: ‘Just Lay Low And Cool It’ (Forbes)

Next-Gen Vaccine For Covid-19 Mutants Will Be Ready By Fall, AstraZeneca Says (Forbes)

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This article is auto-generated by Algorithm Source: www.forbes.com

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