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Experts weigh in on vaccine effectiveness against foreign COVID-19 strains

While many continue to wait on coronavirus vaccines, their effectiveness against new, stronger...
While many continue to wait on coronavirus vaccines, their effectiveness against new, stronger strains of the virus is concerning some scientists.
Published: Jan. 25, 2021 at 6:59 PM CST
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While many continue to wait on coronavirus vaccines, their effectiveness against new, stronger strains of the virus is concerning some scientists.

“The thing that drives these pandemics and the reason that they explode like this, bringing so much attention on the vaccine, is a super spreader event” said CEO of Wello, Rik Heller.

Heller has been researching infectious diseases for over a decade.

He says the strain of the novel coronavirus changes in every infection.

”Every time someone gets COVID, there is a mutation or many mutations that comes from their shedding of the virus” Heller said.

Heller says it’s these mutations that could potentially make the vaccines less effective against foreign strains of the coronavirus.

”Modest to moderate change that would not evade a vaccine. The more it spreads the more it likely it is to mutate to a place where certain preventatives like vaccines, do not work” said Heller

Top U.S. infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci says scientists are already preparing to upgrade COVID-19 vaccines to address the variants of the coronavirus in the United Kingdom and South Africa.

Dr. Fauci says not only are those variants more infectious, but they also don’t respond well to the monoclonal antibodies used in treating COVID patients.

He also described the South African variant as “different and more ominous than the one in the UK.”

Dr. Fauci says there’s enough cushion with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines that scientists still consider them to be effective against both strains.

Heller says he’ll be waiting and watching how scientists adapt.

”So the question is, will we completely contain coronavirus? Will it become just another family of the common colds? Will we have to get vaccinated not once, but twice a year? Or vaccinated at all?” Heller said.

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