A new strain of COVID-19 that was recently discovered in the United Kingdom has likely made its way to the United States.
"When you see something that is pretty prevalent in a place like the U.K. — there are also mutations that we're seeing in South Africa — and given the travel throughout the world, I would not be surprised if it is already here. When we start to look for it, we're going to find it." Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, said during an appearance on PBS NewsHour.
The new strain is believed to be about 70% more transmissible than the current strain of the virus, but it does not appear to be deadlier.
"It doesn't seem at all to have any impact on the virulence or what we call the deadliness of the virus. It doesn't make people more sick. And it doesn't seem to have any impact on the protective nature of the vaccines that we're currently using," Dr. Fauci said.
BioNTech, which worked with Pfizer to develop the first coronavirus vaccine approved in the United States, believes their vaccine should be effective against the mutated coronavirus. Eli Lilly and Regeneron both said their antibody treatments should work against the new strain as well.
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