ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)- Researchers are still learning about COVID-19. The Federal and state governments have been working to get millions of Americans vaccinated without knowing how long immunity will last.
Variants of COVID-19 have been popping up in other parts of the world making their way to the U.S., including here in the Capital Region, adding another element to the list of scientific unknowns surrounding the virus. The most important being will current vaccines provide coverage to the new strains.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are now listing three COVID-19 variants found globally; B.1.1.7 discovered in the United Kingdom in September 2020, 1.351 discovered in South Africa in October 2020; and P.1 which was found in Brazil.
B.1.1.7 was found in Saratoga at the beginning of January and traced back to an individual that was associated with N. Fox Jewelers. The same variant was found to have infected other residents living in Warren County.
A quicker spread of COVID-19 variants sparked initial concern but no evidence was found that supported the idea the variants caused more serious symptoms than the original strain, according to the Mayo Clinic.
On January 25, Moderna said they are confident their version of the COVID-19 vaccine will protect those vaccinated against variants of the virus after conducting research. Including those listed on the CDC’s website.
“As we seek to defeat the COVID-19 virus, which has created a worldwide pandemic, we believe it is imperative to be proactive as the virus evolves. We are encouraged by these new data, which reinforce our confidence that the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine should be protective against these newly detected variants,” said Chief Executive Officer, Stéphane Bancel.
Pfizer also said it’s COVID-19 vaccine showed effectiveness against new strains. They said that they would continue to monitor its effectiveness in the event the vaccine had to be modified and were in a good position to make a change if necessary.
Pfizer and BioNTech are encouraged by these early in vitro study findings. Further data are needed to monitor the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine’s effectiveness in preventing COVID-19 caused by new virus variants. So far, for COVID-19 vaccines, it has not been established what reduction in neutralization might indicate the need for a vaccine strain change. Should a vaccine strain change be required to address virus variants in the future, the Companies believe that the flexibility of BioNTech’s proprietary mRNA vaccine platform is well suited to enable such adjustment.Pfizer