Fauci Warns Of ‘More Ominous’ Strains Of COVID-19 Emerging Worldwide

“People need to realize there’s more than one mutant strain.”

Globe made of jigsaw puzzles with a protective medical mask as a prophylaxis in the fight against coronavirus infection. Measures against the spread of the virus
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Dr. Anthony Fauci on Sunday warned that there are “more ominous” strains of COVID-19 that are emerging in South Africa and Brazil.

Fauci, an immunologist and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases who served on the White House Coronavirus Task Force, said U.S. researchers are “very carefully” examining the two new mutant strains, as well as another first detected in the United Kingdom that is reportedly far more contagious.

“People need to realize there’s more than one mutant strain,” Fauci said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“There’s one from the UK that’s essentially dominated. There’s another more ominous one that’s in South Africa and Brazil,” he said. “The Brits have made it very clear that [the strain detected there is] more contagious,” Fauci said.

“They say that it isn’t more virulent. But, you know, we’ve got to be careful because the more cases you get, even though on a one-to-one basis it’s not more virulent, meaning it doesn’t make you more sick or more likely to die, just by numbers alone the more cases you have, the more hospitalizations you’re going to have,” he noted.

Fauci said it’s unknown if the existing vaccines currently being distributed across the U.S. will target the newly emerging strains.

“The thing we really want to look at carefully is that does that mutation lessen the impact of the vaccine?” he said. “And if it does, then we’re going to have to make some modifications… We’re looking at that really very carefully.”

Fauci said last week it’s a “possibility” a new, mutated strain of the COVID-19 virus could be behind a sudden spike in cases across the U.S., which had dropped dramatically since April. He said the new rise in the U.S. is similar to what’s been occurring in the United Kingdom, where a new strain emerged last month.

“It could be — a possibility — that we have our own mutant that’s being more easily transmissible,” Fauci told The Washington Post on Monday. “We don’t know. We’re looking for it…If you look at the slope of our curve, which is very steep, it looks a bit like the curve in the UK.”

The White House Coronavirus Task Force last week “there may be a USA variant that has evolved here, in addition to the UK variant that is already spreading in our communities,” according to reports obtained by CNN. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says it has found no evidence of that a new strain of the virus in in the U.S., while other health experts say the sudden spike in cases could be happening because of other causes.

“Based on scientific understanding of viruses, it is highly likely there are many variants evolving simultaneously across the globe,” a CDC spokesman said in a statement emailed to CNN.

“Additionally, there is a strong possibility there are variants in the United States; however, it could weeks or months to identify if there is a single variant of the virus that causes COVID-19 fueling the surge in the United States similar to the surge in the United Kingdom,” the spokesman added.

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