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Dr. Fauci warns of possible ‘monster’ variant of COVID-19

Fauci said a ‘monster’ COVID-19 variant could emerge if the pandemic isn’t stopped

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Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., about COVID-19.

Top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci responds to Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., as he testifies before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 20, 2021.

J. Scott Applewhite, Associated Press

Dr. Anthony Fauci warned Tuesday that there could be a future COVID-19 variant that would be highly transmissible — something he called a “monster variant.”

What is the monster variant of COVID-19?

Fauci, the White House medical adviser on the coronavirus, told MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski that there could be a “monster” variant that makes the delta variant look weak in comparison.

  • “There’s always a risk of, as you get more circulation of the virus in the community, that you’ll get enough accumulation of new mutations to get a variant substantially different than the ones we’re seeing now,” Fauci said on the MSNBC’S “Morning Joe” show.

Fauci said that’s why vaccination remains so important. The COVID-19 vaccine can help stop the spread of the novel coronavirus and eliminate potentially dangerous variants.

  • “You’re vaccinating now to prevent the next mutant coming, the next variant from coming,” Fauci said on the “Morning Joe” show.

Is there a doomsday variant?

Multiple scientists told Newsweek back in August that there was a potential “doomsday COVID variant” that could be worse than the delta variant, which has proven to be highly transmissible.

  • “I wouldn’t be incredibly surprised if something else came along that’s even more transmissible,” Eric Vail, director of molecular pathology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, told Newsweek.

Right now, there has been concern about the lambda variant. One study — published online through bioRxiv but has not been peer-reviewed — found that the lambda variant could even evade the COVID-19 vaccine, as I wrote for the Deseret News.

There has also been concern about the mu variant. The World Health Organization said the mu variant might have the mutations that make it evade COVID-19 vaccines. So the WHO added it to its list of variants “of interest.”

That said, experts told The Wall Street Journal that the delta variant is “well positioned to maintain its dominance” over other variants such as lambda and mu because the delta will infect the unvaccinated and the vulnerable before any other variant can rise up.