The new strain of Speaking with Dr. Anthony Fauci on a Facebook Live video, the governor said one case was detected this morning in Southern California. The mutation appears to make the virus better at transmitting from one person to another, he said.discovered in the UK has now spread to California, Gov. Gavin Newsom revealed Wednesday.
“It doesn’t seem to evade the protection that’s afforded by the antibodies that are induced by,” Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said. “Even though you have one part of the virus that’s changed, it’s very likely that the other components of the vaccine-induced response will protect you.”
However, he said NIAID is keeping an eye on the mutation to make sure thecomponents protect fully against the components of the new strain.
“We’re following this extremely carefully, we have isolates from the UK, we’re working on it,” Fauci said.
The new coronavirus strain was discovered in the UK, with British government earlier saying the variant might be up to 70% more transmissible. The Tuesday, followed a second case in the same state on Wednesday.
Fauci said he’s not surprised a case has now emerged in California, given all the travel from people in the UK not only directly to the US, but also through Europe and Canada. The coronavirus is mutating now because there are so many cases, Fauci explained.
“RNA viruses, they make a living out of mutating, they love to mutate,” he said. “It’s replicating a lot, and when you replicate you mutate.”
However, he said there’s no evidence that the new strain increases the risk of getting sick or dying, and it also doesn’t evade the tests being used to detect infections in people.
“The other thing they’ve noted in the UK is that people who have been infected don’t seem to get re-infected by this,” Fauci added. “Which means the immunity that’s given to you [by recovering from the virus] … is protective against this particular strain.”
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