Genetic experts have expressed concerns that the covid 19 vaccines available now might not work well against the new strain of coronavirus found in the UK.
The new strains are known to spread at a faster rate than the original strain. The new strain has already wreaked havoc across the UK, and the entire country is facing a huge surge in new coronavirus cases.
Genetics Experts Worry Vaccines Might Not Work Well Against UK Variant
Even in the US, many researchers believe that the new UK variant has already made its way into the country. Further study about different strains of coronavirus will give clarity in this regard.
The vaccines that are now available in the market offer about 95% protection from infection in a majority of individuals. However, when it comes to the new strain, further study is required to assess the effectiveness of the vaccines.
According to genetic experts, the new strain looks different from the other strains of coronavirus, and this has the potential to create a crisis in the near future.
For this reason, it should be taken seriously, and a detailed study should be done to resolve the problem. The vaccine manufacturers have said that they need about a few weeks’ time to confirm if their vaccines would be effective against the new UK variant coronavirus.
Health officials across the US have downplayed the possibility of the existing coronavirus not working against the UK strain. They are of the opinion that virus mutations are common and the vaccines will be equally effective on the new variant.
Only a small portion of health experts feel that the vaccines may have a reduced effect on the new variant. According to early estimates, the existing vaccines may be about 80% effective on the new variant.
According to the CDC, the UK variant of coronavirus has an unusually large number of mutations that has worried the experts. There are about 14 changes and 3 deletions in its genetic code that impact the protein’s building block.
Experts say that the 17 unique mutations that are not seen anywhere have worried them. Even British scientists are of the opinion that this level of mutations was not seen on the global scale for the covid 19 pandemics.
Apart from the mutations, scientists are also worried about the combination of the mutations that have not been characterized in the lab.
In this regard, very little information is available about the virus mutations as of now, and further study is needed to understand how they work in the human body.
BioNTech CEO says that the vaccine developed by their company in collaboration with Pfizer will be enough to handle the new variant in most cases.
He asserted that they are working on further studies in this regard and they will be in a position to confirm the news after a few weeks.
However, the existing vaccine can be updated to handle the new variant if needed in the future. In this way, there is no need to lose hope about the existing vaccines.
The UK is suffering from a huge surge in the number of new coronavirus cases. Several countries have banned travellers from the UK.
Some of the neighboring countries have also banned the movement of goods and passengers from the UK. The situation is not looking good even as Pfizer vaccine is being distributed across the hospitals in Britain.
BioNTech CEO has said that it was technically possible to adjust their vaccine to the new virus variant if it is needed in future. Even health experts are confident that the new variant may not create many problems.
It would be interesting to see the developments in this regard by the CDC and other concerned agencies.