clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

COVID-19 vaccines appear to be less effective against new mutations, Dr. Fauci says

Dr. Anthony Fauci said recently that the COVID-19 vaccines on market might be less effective

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks with reporters in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021, in Washington.
Associated Press

Dr. Anthony Fauci said Thursday that the available COVID-19 vaccines appear to be less effective against the new strains of the coronavirus, CNBC reports.

What happened

Fauci, the White House health advisor, said Thursday that the new available COVID-19 vaccines — specifically the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines — offer some help against the new mutations of COVID-19 popping up across the world. But there’s still some concern.

  • “We’re following very carefully the one in South Africa, which is a little bit more concerning, but nonetheless not something that we don’t think we can handle,” Fauci said, per CNBC.

Fauci said mutations often occur among viruses. But the mutations can be defeated if enough people become vaccinated, according to CNBC.

  • “Viruses don’t mutate unless they replicate,” said Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, according to CNN.
  • “And if you can suppress that by a very good vaccine campaign, then you could actually avoid this deleterious effect that you might get from the mutations,” Fauci said, according to CNN.
  • “Bottom line: We’re paying very close attention to it. There are alternative plans if we ever have to modify the vaccine. That’s not something that is a very onerous thing, we can do that given the platforms we have,” Fauci said, according to CNBC.

What the vaccine developers say

Pfizer-BioNTech released the results of a new study earlier this week that looked at whether or not their COVID-19 vaccine can defeat the new variant in the United Kingdom.

  • The research — published on bioRxiv — showed “no biologically significant difference in neutralization activity,” as I wrote about for the Deseret News. This means that the COVID-19 variant did not change enough characteristics to evade the vaccine.