What We Know About the New Variants of COVID-19
As viruses spread and evolve, small genetic changes occur. These mutations can result in thousands of variations of the same virus. A year after the Coronavirus has swept across the world, we are discovering more and more variants of COVID-19.
How can I protect myself from the variants of Coronavirus?
The same protective measures that have kept us safe throughout this pandemic are just as important as ever. Wearing masks, washing our hands, maintaining social distance, and avoiding large gatherings are the most effective measures for warding off the newer, more infectious variants of COVID-19.
Will the COVID-19 vaccine fight these new variants?
Scientists are working to learn more about Coronavirus variants and exploring whether our current vaccines protect people against them. There is still a lot that we don’t know, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has acknowledged that, so far, current studies suggest that antibodies generated through the vaccines seem to be recognizing the variants.
“Based on early evidence, it doesn’t seem that the effectiveness of the vaccines changes significantly with the variants of the Coronavirus,” said Dr. Paul Richardson, Chief Medical Officer of Conway Medical Center. “However, that could change with time and the evolution of the virus and all its variants.”
Despite the unknowns, Dr. Richardson remains sure of one thing regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. “Everyone needs to get it when it’s available to them,” he said. “Even if at some point the vaccine is less powerful against some of the COVID variants, some protection against this virus is better than none. We need to give our bodies all the help we can to prevent hospitalization and the worst outcomes of this illness.”