It’s disconcerting to hear a constant influx of news regarding new variants of COVID-19. It’s been over a year since we first learned of the coronavirus, and with the announcement of vaccinations, most of us thought that we were approaching the end of the battle. The good news announcing that Pfizer had developed an effective vaccine was followed by an announcement that seemed to dampen this achievement. Word began to spread about a more contagious, potentially more lethal variant circulating that might make the vaccine ineffective. And then, the discovery of other variants was announced and identified in many countries. This leads to the big question: will the vaccines protect against new variants?
The Variant Discovered in the U.K.
Near the end of 2020, scientists discovered a new COVID-19 variant in the U.K. that appears to spread more rapidly. Scientists determined that this variant contains mutations that impact how the virus infects cells in the body, making it more transmissible. The variant has been detected in at least 45 countries, including the U.S. The CDC warned that it might be the new dominant variant circulating by spring 2021. The good news is that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are effective against this variant.
Scientists discovered another variant in South Africa. It contains a mutation occurring on a part of the spike protein that plays an integral role in attaching receptors in human cells. The mutation appears more transmissible—similar to the U.K. variant— and affects younger people more than other variants. Experts say that vaccines will likely still be effective against this variant.
Another virus mutation has also been identified in Brazil. There is no definite answer yet whether the vaccine is effective against this variant. However, some researchers believe that antibodies may not protect against this variant, potentially leading to reinfection.
A variant was detected in Denmark back in March 2020, which has not gained as much attention. Unlike the others mentioned variants, it’s not clear if it is more transmissible. Researchers think that this variant is more resistant to vaccines because of a mutation impacting the spike protein.
More research for all the variants needs to be done before anything can be confirmed. While the information about new variants is alarming, we can continue to do our best to keep ourselves and others safe. Taking protective measures is even more critical now with the new variants circulating. Until we have more information, continue taking precautions, such as maintaining social distance, wearing masks, and washing hands until there is more information.
Stay Safe with a Digital Health Passport
Even though the vaccines are out, we don’t know what’s going to happen. Unfortunately, life is rather uncertain right now. That being said, we still have to live our lives in the safest way possible. While that looks different for everyone, some of us are required to go into work daily or attend smaller gatherings. No matter your situation, you can use COVID PreCheck App as a digital health passport to help keep you and others safe when you go out in public. The COVID PreCheck App allows individuals, families, and businesses to engage in permitted activities depending on current COVID-19 regulations safely.
Users on COVID PreCheck App can do self-tests to confirm that they have not been showing any symptoms or been in contact with anyone who has. The app makes sharing your health or vaccination status simple by transforming all the information straight from your doctor into a QR code. Doctors can submit any updates regarding your health status to the COVID PreCheck App, so that you and those around you can feel confident your health or vaccination status remains up-to-date.
Whether or not the vaccines are indeed effective, only time will tell. In the meantime, we can feel more reassured by taking the necessary precautions and using COVID PreCheck App. If you want to ensure the health and safety of employees, friends, or family members around you, you can use the app to check the health status of those around you and share your own. Download the app or go online to learn more.