Updated: Aug 3
Every day, more and more questions about COVID-19 are popping up around the world -- especially when it comes to the two new variants of the coronavirus circulating around the world.
More importantly, people wonder what this new covid variant means and whether or not the current COVID-19 vaccines will protect against it. In the discussion below, Dr. Peramsetty talks about what these new coronavirus strains mean and if the vaccinations are effective against the new variants.
Dr. Peramsetty on the New Coronavirus Strains and Vaccine Effectiveness
New COVID-19 Strains
So what do we know about the new COVID-19 strains? Firstly, two new variants were identified -- one in South Africa and another in the UK. Secondly, these new variants are much more contagious and transmissible -- but not necessarily more deadly -- than the initial COVID-19 version that circulated much of the world last year.
While other COVID-19 variants have been discovered, Dr. Peramsetty said, “These new strains contain an unusual number of mutations compared to the other variants of COVID.” This is what makes them more concerning than other variants.
The UK and South Africa coronavirus variants are slightly different but have presented similar virus mutations. More specifically, they have an identical mutation in the same spike, which has been referred to as the N501Y mutation.
With these new mutations, how does this impact vaccine effectiveness? Dr. Peramsetty covers that important question below.
Current Vaccine Effectiveness
With regards to the new coronavirus variant originating in South Africa, which has spread to other parts of the world, Dr. Peramsetty explained, “The mutations in the variant are more concentrated in the virus’s genome that codes for the spike protein, which the current vaccines build immunity towards.”
Regarding the UK virus variant, Dr. Peramsetty said, “The UK variant does not carry as many mutations in the spike protein like the South Africa variant, and scientists are still hopeful that the vaccine would still work against it.”
So how do vaccines work? Most people respond to a vaccination by producing a wide range of antibodies that disable the virus by gumming up many different parts.
So even though some antibodies generated by the vaccine might not work as well against the virus, others are unlikely to be affected. All in all, Dr. Peramsetty says it’s doubtful the new COVID-19 variants significantly lower the efficiency of current vaccines.
In conclusion, if research shows a new vaccine is needed for better effectiveness, Dr. Peramsetty said, “It may take 4-6 weeks to develop a modified vaccine. We’re now in the game of cat and mouse.”
COVID-19 Testing and Treatment in Tuscaloosa
Dr. Peramsetty, the chief physician and owner of Crimson Care and First Care in Tuscaloosa, is always up-to-date about advancements and treatment-related news, as well as COVID-19 testing and treatment options.
At our top-of-the-line clinics, we offer drive-up testing, rapid testing, and professional help for treating COVID-19 symptoms. However, we are open to all your medical issues in Tuscaloosa, not just COVID-19! If you need medical help treating an illness, accident, or another problem, don’t hesitate to contact our team today.