Scientists Studying Vaccines’ Effectiveness Against New Covid Strains

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NIH scientists are studying whether Covid-19 vaccines will provide the same level of protection against new strains of the virus as they do against earlier strains, the agency’s lead scientist on coronavirus said.

At the same time, Kizzmekia S. Corbett, scientific lead for the coronavirus vaccines team at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said she’s “not as alarmed as the media would have us think” by the emergence of the new strains.

The discovery ofnew strains of the SARS-Cov-2 virus from South Africa and the United Kingdom have raised concern about their impact on the pandemic. The newer strains appear to transmit more easily but aren’t more severe in that they don’t make people any sicker than the other strains.

There needs to be a have fundamental scientific understanding around each of the these genetic variations, and those studies are already happening at the National Institutes of Health, said Corbett, who made her comments Thursday night during anevent on vaccines hosted by

Scientists are working to figure out how well the vaccines protect patients with the new strains by testing the vaccines in serum from people who got the vaccine in the early-stage clinical trials or from animal models, she said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jeannie Baumann in Washington at [email protected]

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Fawn Johnson at [email protected]; Brent Bierman at [email protected]

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