…But is not likely to cause more severe infections
The good news is, while the new variant may be more contagious, there’s no evidence that it causes more severe infections or that it’s deadlier.
Reports explain that for the virus to “survive,” it’s advantageous for it to mutate in a way that it’s more contagious. If it mutates to become deadlier, then the host might die, and it will not be transmitted anymore.
Scientists expect mutations to happen
Now that we understand that we have a new variant–not a new coronavirus strain–and that it may be spreading faster, let’s highlight that scientists expect mutations to happen.
They explain that, as long as Sars-Cov-2 spreads through the population, mutations will happen. In fact, we may regularly have new variants, with most of them coming and going, and some persisting but not becoming common.
Current vaccines are likely to be effective against B.1.1.7
One of the most pressing concerns is if the developing vaccines will still offer protection from the new variant. At this point, most researchers agree that the approved vaccines, and those which are still underdevelopment, will still be effective against B.1.1.7.
According to Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, the WHO’s chief scientist, a couple of changes in the Sars-Cov-2 should not make the vaccines ineffective. However, they are still conducting studies to confirm it.