B117 Variant Strain of Coronavirus Confirmed in Two States in the US
As our immunity adapts in efforts to fight off Covid 19, the virus fights back by adapting. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says, “Viruses constantly change through mutation, and new variants of a virus are expected to occur over time. Sometimes new variants emerge and disappear. Other times, new variants emerge and start infecting people,”
The trouble is, we didn't have a vaccine when the coronavirus outbreak hit the world, and now that it is mutating, questions arise whether the vaccine will be effective for these variant strains. This new variant has been named B.1.1.7. and while it may be 70% more contagious, there is no evidence that it is more deadly than the Covid 19 strain which has already claimed almost 20 Million lives in the USA and about 1.81 million total lives worldwide to date.
USA Today -
What makes the new strain more contagious?
SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the disease COVID-19, acquires about one new mutation in its genome every two weeks, according to the CDC. The U.K. variant has several mutations that affect the "spike protein" on the virus surface that attaches to human cells.
"It’s able to bind to the receptors on cells better, and therefore is transmitted better," Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, said last week.
Is the new strain more lethal?
There is no evidence that B.1.1.7 causes more severe illness or increased risk of death, according to the CDC.
Is the vaccine effective for the new variant?
Researchers believe current COVID-19 vaccines will likely protect against B.1.1.7, but data is needed. The virus would "likely need to accumulate multiple mutations in the spike protein to evade immunity induced by vaccines or by natural infection," according to the CDC.