There’s a new coronavirus variant in New York City that might be causing outbreaks there, and it’s worrying experts.
Scott Gottlieb, the former head of the Food and Drug Administration, told CBS News’ “Face the Nation” over the weekend that a new coronavirus variant in New York City — called the B.1.526 variant — may cause outbreaks in the city.
- “You’re seeing a lot of infection surging in pockets of New York City. What we don’t understand with 1.526 is whether or not people are being reinfected with it and whether or not people who might have been vaccinated are now getting infected with it,” Gottlieb told CBS News.
The B.1.526 variant is mainly concerning because it has a mutation found in the B.1.351 variant, which was first discovered in South Africa, according to CBS News.
- The mutation might mean those who previously had COVID-19 and those who have been vaccinated could be infected again, per CBS News. It remains unclear if that’s the case.
In February, it was reported that the New York variant had hit several diverse neighborhoods in New York City, according to CNN. And the variant had already become “scattered in the Northeast,” per CNN.
Experts were primarily concerned because the New York variant appeared to evade vaccines, as I wrote for the Deseret News.
- “It’s not particularly happy news,” Michel Nussenzweig, an immunologist at Rockefeller University, told The New York Times. “But just knowing about it is good because then we can perhaps do something about it.”
- Similarly, Kristian Andersen, a virologist at the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego, told Fox News: “Given the involvement of E484K or S477N, combined with the fact that the New York region has a lot of standing immunity from the spring wave, this is definitely one to watch.”
Gottlieb said on “Face the Nation” that more research needs to be done to find out how the mutation evades vaccines and what can be done to stop it.
- “We’re just not very good right now at collecting the cases and linking it back to the clinical experience. So we need to step in much more aggressively and start sequencing cases, especially people who report that they either were previously vaccinated or already had COVID,” Gottlieb said on “Face the Nation.”