Reports of new variants of coronavirus (a.k.a. SARS-CoV2) have surfaced in the U.S. in the past month. With these changes in the SARS-CoV2 genome come concerns that the COVID-19 vaccines developed by Moderna and Pfizer may not be as effective. Take a deep breathe - things are not as bleak as they seem! In this episode, we explain viral variants. How do they arise? And, importantly, what do we know about how these mutations change the current situation for COVID-19 (infection rate, vaccine immunity, symptoms)?
New variant info:
Track new variant by state: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/transmission/variant-cases.html
Viral mutation rate: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-02544-6
Viral neutralization test: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plaque_reduction_neutralization_test
Flu virus mutations: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/viruses/change.htm
What is BioRxiv: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BioRxiv
BioRxiv Moderna 1/25: https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.01.25.427948v1
Brazilian variant: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/covid-brazil-strain-confirmed-minnesota/
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