Fauci says improved vaccines could help fight against COVID-19 variants

WASHINGTON, D.C. (NBC) – Dr. Anthony Fauci says scientists are preparing to upgrade COVID-19 vaccines to address new coronavirus variants now spreading in many countries.

America’s top infectious disease expert said the improved vaccines would target virus mutations first identified in the United Kingdom and South Africa.

“It does not appear to have any substantial effect at all on the efficacy of the vaccine, so we’re pretty good there,” Fauci said. “But you’ve got to pay attention to it because it’s evolving.”

Dr. Fauci said those new strains are not only more infectious they also do not respond as well to the monoclonal antibodies that have been used in treating patients. But he said current vaccines have a “cushion of efficacy” against the new variants.

Dr. Fauci was speaking to the World Economic Forum, which is normally held in Davos, Switzerland, but has gone virtual this year.

Dr. Fauci, who is President Biden’s chief medical adviser, said if China had been more transparent about the disease earlier, “it would have profoundly influenced policies.”

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