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US Scientists hope to know in the next few days if coronavirus Vaccines may not work against a mutated variant of the virus that is spreading rapidly in parts of the world. England.

While there is always concern that a vaccine will not work if a virus mutates significantly, Walter Reed scientists still hope the vaccine will be effective against this new variant, said Dr. Nelson Michael, director of the Research Center for Infectious Diseases at Walter Reed Army Research Institute.

“It stands to reason that this mutation is not a threat, but you never know. We still have to be diligent and keep looking,” said Dr. Michael.

Boxes containing Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are moved to the loading dock for shipment at McKesson's distribution center in Olive Branch, Mississippi.
Boxes containing Modern COVID-19 vaccine are moved to the loading dock for shipment to the McKesson distribution center in Olive Branch, Mississippi. (AP / Paul Sancya)

On Thursday, Walter Reed’s team began examining the genetic sequences of the new UK variant published online by British researchers.

They are doing a computer scan as the first step.

“Computer analysis will allow us to measure how much concern we should have,” said Dr. Michael.

“Other teams around the world are also doing this analysis.”

If computer analysis shows that there is a concern, then laboratory and animal studies should be done to determine more definitively if the vaccine will work on this variant.

“There is no evidence to suggest that the vaccine will be less effective against the new variant. Our experts will continue their work to improve our understanding as quickly as we can,” Johnson said.

The UK’s chief scientific adviser agreed.

“Our working assumption at the moment from all scientists is that the vaccine response should be adequate for this virus,” Dr. Patrick Vallance said at the press conference.

The US Food and Drug Administration has licensed two vaccines, one from Pfizer and the other from Moderna.

Both work by creating a genetic blueprint for the spikes that appear on the surface of the new coronavirus.

The immune system “sees” the spikes and learns to launch an attack against them.

As with other new variants or strains of COVID-19, this one carries a genetic fingerprint that makes it easy to trace, and it turns out to be one that is now common.

That does not mean that the mutation made it spread more easily, nor does it necessarily mean that this variation is more dangerous.

Multiple experts in virus genetics and epidemiology are pointing out that this could simply be a “lucky” strain that has been amplified due to a super-propagation event; it could be the mutation that somehow makes it spread more easily without causing more serious disease; or it could be by chance.

A member of the medical staff takes a photo while a medical worker vaccinates against the coronavirus at the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center in Israel.
A member of the medical staff takes a photo while a medical worker vaccinates against the coronavirus at the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center in Israel. (Getty / Amir Levy)

In August, Walter Reed’s team published a study showing that the vaccines still worked against several other coronavirus mutations.

Vaccines are still useful because viruses are constantly mutating, but usually not in a way that renders a vaccine useless, said Dr. William Schaffner, an adviser to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on vaccines.

“Even with mutations, the virus essentially stays the same,” Dr. Schaffner said.

“It’s like with a person. I can change my brown coat for a gray coat, but I’m still Bill Schaffner. I’ve changed something, but I’m still the same person.”


www.9news.com.au

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