SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A new strain of COVID-19 has been detected in New York and its starting to spread rapidly.
The mutated strain of coronavirus in New York is said to be similar to the South African variant, in how it can evade the body’s immune system, potentially even in a person that has the vaccine.
Researchers have found that this COVID variant infected people in diverse neighborhoods of New York City. They observed a steady increase in the detection rate from late December to mid-February, and in the last two weeks, it went up more than 12 percent.
Local infectious disease experts told 22News this is a cause of concern, especially since the vaccines may be less effective against the new variants that are out there.
“What they do is they mutate, they change, so the virus is always mutating if you will, as a way to get ahead. What we know from other viruses that are circulating is that there maybe some less efficacy, so we know the vaccine will work, but will it work quite as well? We just don’t know that yet,” said Baystate Health Infectious Diseases Specialist Dr. Daniel Skiest.
Dr. Skiest expects to see alterations made each year to the COVID-19 vaccines to counteract new variants that emerge, just like what they do with the flu vaccines.
The New York variant is the latest in a growing number of them in the United States, which is now up to over 28 million coronavirus cases more than any other country.