Reports of a new, mutated coronavirus variant making its rounds in some areas of the United Kingdom has raised doubts that the COVID-19 vaccine could be ineffective towards this strain. Scientists at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research are exploring the mutation and would be able to share some information in a few days.
The director of the Center for Infectious Diseases Research, Dr. Nelson Michael, has stated that the scientists are anticipating that the vaccine will prove to be effective against the variant. There are concerns regarding the efficacy of the vaccine if there is significant mutation of the variant.
“It stands to reason that this mutation isn’t a threat, but you never know. We still have to be diligent and continue to look,” Michael said.
As a primary step, the scientists are conducting a computer analysis of the genetic sequences of the new variant on Thursday.
“The computer analysis will allow us to gauge how much concern we should have,” Michael said. “Other teams around the world are doing this analysis, too.”
Reports say that if the analysis unveils a cause for concern, the next step would be carrying out studies on animals in a laboratory to record definitive results regarding the effect of the vaccine on the variant.
UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has proclaimed new lockdowns in some areas of the country that have been hit by the new mutation.