The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, Dr. Anthony Fauci, has revealed that the new B.1.1.7 COVID-19 variant first discovered in the UK is deadlier and highly transmissible. He stated that the new variant is responsible for 30% of new COVID-19 infections in the US and also linked to 64% increased risks of death in infected people.
Having been reported in 94 countries around the world and the entire United States, the new variant is said to bow to vaccinations with Moderna and Pfizer’s BioNTech according to health experts. The variant is also said to yield monoclonal antibody treatments and this fact underscores the need for everyone to get vaccinated in record time, Fauci said.
“The way we can counter B.1.1.7, which is a growing threat in our country, is to do two things: To get as many people vaccinated as quickly and as expeditiously as possible with the vaccine that we know works against this variant and; finally, to implement the public health measures that we talk about all the time…masking, physical distancing, and avoiding congregant settings, particularly indoors,” he said.
Through genetic sequencing, US officials have confirmed 5,567 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant and fear that it could become the most dominant strain in the country before the end of April. Fauci urged people to get inoculated fast with approved coronavirus vaccines since these will stop the virus from mutating, infecting people, and resisting treatments.
Researchers from the University of Exeter and the University of Bristol examined over 100,000 people in the UK to establish that the variant is linked with 64% higher risks of death in people infected. Their study was published in the British Medical Journal.
Fauci disclosed that about 53,000 new cases of B.1.1.7 infection are recorded every day and this situation can be linked to the fact that some states, cities, and regions have relaxed their attitudes to health and safety protocols.
“We’re at a position right now where we have a plateauing at around 53,000 cases per day,” Fauci said. “The concern is that throughout the country there are a number of states, cities, regions that are pulling back on some of the mitigation methods that we’ve been talking about: the withdrawal of mask mandates, the pulling back to essentially non-public health measures being implemented.”
While experts have revealed that the Moderna and BioNTech vaccines offer some level of protection against the new variant, the same cannot be said of the recently approved Johnson & Johnson vaccine since many post-vaccination experiments and researches have not been conducted to determine its efficacy against the disease variant.