Dr. Fauci Says This Can Stop New COVID Strains
He said one thing could actually "suppress" dangerous new strains from replicating.
The emergence of new coronavirus strains has caused some concerns among health officials. Currently, the U.S. has been hit with one new strain from overseas: the U.K. variant, which is reportedly 50 percent more transmissible than previous strains and on its way to becoming the new dominant strain in the country. However, other mutations have already developed around the world, meaning more new strains could be on the way to the U.S. Fortunately, there may be ways to protect ourselves from these new variants. In fact, Anthony Fauci, MD, chief medical adviser to the White House, just gave new guidance on what can stop these new COVID strains. Read on to find out what he recommends, and for more coronavirus news, discover The Strange New Way You Could Get COVID, Study Says.
Fauci said vaccines can stop future strains from emerging.
During his first White House press briefing under President Joe Biden's new administration, Fauci discussed how widespread vaccination could actually stop new strains from developing. "Viruses don't mutate unless they replicate," he explained on Jan. 21. According to Fauci, you can "suppresses" this replication with "a very good vaccine campaign," which could help the country avoid mutations, or at the very least, avoid mutations with detrimental effects.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gave similar recommendations earlier. In a Jan. 15 report, the agency said that "increased transmissibility also means that higher than anticipated vaccination coverage must be attained to achieve the same level of disease control to protect the public compared with less transmissible variants." And for more ways to stay healthy, If You Have This Mask, Get a New One Now, Experts Say
This is true even if new strains make the vaccine less effective.
Fauci said that the new COVID strains won't make the vaccine non-effective, but there is the possibility that they could diminish vaccine efficacy. And this makes "vaccinating as many people as you possibly can" more important, as it can stop these vaccine-affecting strains from mutating over time.
"If you have a vaccine, like the Moderna and the Pfizer vaccine, that can suppress the virus at a dilution, let's say, of 1 to 1,000, and the mutant influences it by bringing it down to maybe 1 to 800, or something like that, you're still well above the line of not being effective," he explained. "That's what we're seeing, both certainly with the U.K., which is very minimal effect. We're following very carefully the one in South Africa, which is a little bit more concerning, but nonetheless, not something that we don't think that we can handle." And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Public health measures can also stop new strains from spreading.
Fauci has been warning the public about these new coronavirus strains since December. In a Dec. 31 interview on Today, Fauci said the new strains need to "be taken seriously," which means that adhering to COVID precautions may be more important now than ever before.
"This just underscores the need to continue to put our foot to the floor and the pedal about making sure we do the public health measures that we talk about all the time," he said. "The wearing of masks, the physical distancing, the avoiding crowds and congregate settings. Those are the kind of things that will prevent this new strain from spreading even further." And for more advice from the infectious disease expert, Dr. Fauci Says You Need One of These at Home to Avoid COVID.
And Fauci warned that we are "still in a very serious situation."
During the White House briefing, Fauci also said one might think that we are headed towards a safer place, as the case averages appear to be "plateauing." According to The New York Times, cases in the country have decreased by 21 percent over the last two weeks. However, Fauci warned that the country is "still in a very serious situation," especially when it comes to the future of COVID hospitalizations and deaths.
"There are always lags, so please be aware of that; that when you have cases, and then a couple of weeks later, you'll see it represented in hospitalizations, intensive care, and then a couple of weeks later, in deaths," he explained. "So you have almost paradoxical curves, where you see something plateauing and may be coming down at the same time as hospitalizations and deaths might actually be going up." And for more on the spread of the virus, This Is How Bad the COVID Outbreak Is in Your State.