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Good News/Bad News: COVID-19 Vaccines Effective Against New Strain

Coronavirus decided to mutate into a new COVID strain and it’s spreading with a vengeance.

The new COVID strain was discovered in the United Kingdom and has caused other countries to immediately implement travel bans to help prevent the spread. France has banned people and freight from coming in via any form of transportation. The decision caused travel shares to drop as much as 4.6 percent.

Additionally, the UK has put certain areas on lockdown.

The new virus has nearly two-dozen mutations and is more transmissible than COVID-19, with British government’s chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance saying the variant could cause more than 60 percent of infections in London by the end of December.

Coincidentally, the news broke right as the first group of people received their COVID-19 vaccines.

But there’s good news too—the newly released vaccines are proved effective against this new strain.

Jens Spahn, Germanys health minister, has confidence in the vaccine’s effectiveness. The French government has Spahn’s back and released this statement:

“This genetic variant does not seem to entail, at this stage of knowledge, a heightened seriousness or a resistance to the vaccine.”

Other experts echo these sentiments, having confidence in the new COVID-19 vaccines.

“Up to now, I don’t think there has been a single variant that would be resistant,” said Dr. Moncef Slaoui, the chief science adviser for the U.S. government’s vaccine distribution effort. “This particular variant in the U.K., I think, is very unlikely to have escaped the vaccine immunity.”

The reason behind the confidence has to do with genetic coding. Even though this COVID strain has nearly two-dozen mutations, it’s still not enough to undermine a vaccine. As viruses evolve over time, however, vaccines are adjusted based on the virus evolution. Luckily, the new strain has not evolved to that point.

Right now, COVID-19 vaccines are limited, with priority going toward frontline workers. So continue wear your mask and social distance!

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Written by Lindsay Patton