A new coronavirus strain found in minks will likely not have an adverse impact on Pfizer and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines, Dr. Fauci said.
Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine may become available as early as mid-December.
Both Pfizer and Moderna’s coronavirus vaccines are 95% effective at preventing COVID-19.
Over the past few days, researchers stumbled across a new coronavirus strain in Europe that initially prompted some to worry that a new wave of infections could sweep over the globe. As we detailed last week, Denmark earlier this month put certain areas of the country on lockdown after a new SARS-CoV-2 strain found in a mink population ended up infecting 12 people. As a preventative measure, authorities in Denmark said they were planning to kill upwards of 17 million minks. Meanwhile, outbreaks on mink farms have been reported in other countries, including the Netherlands, Sweden, Italy, and the U.S.
Amidst concerns that the new strain could kickstart a brand new pandemic and impede the efficacy of Pfizer and Moderna’s coronavirus vaccines, Dr. Anthony Fauci recently said there’s no reason to panic.
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“Whenever you see something like that, you need to pay attention to it,” Fauci said in remarks picked up by CNBC. “You certainly can’t just blow it off. You have got to look at it, you have got to take a look at what it means, what the mutation has to do with various aspects of the molecules that are responsible for the binding of antibodies.”
“It does not appear, at this point, that that mutation that’s been identified in the minks is going to have an impact on vaccines and affect a vaccine-induced response,” Fauci went on to say. “It might have an impact on certain monoclonal antibodies that are developed against the virus. We don’t know that yet. But at first cut, it doesn’t look like something that is going to be really a big problem for the vaccines that are currently being used to reduce an immune response.”
In light of that, it remains to be seen when the aforementioned coronavirus vaccines will become available. Pfizer, in a statement released earlier this week, said that it’s planning to see an Emergency Use Authorization (EAU) from the FDA over the next few days. Assuming that it’s granted, administration of the vaccine could begin as soon as mid-December. Pfizer says it will have 50 million doses ready to go by the end of the year, a quantity capable of vaccinating 25 million people as the schedule calls for two separate shots.
Of course, combatting the coronavirus with a vaccine will require most Americans to take the vaccine. To this point, Dr. Fauci recently articulated that around 80% of Americans will need the coronavirus vaccine for it to be deemed effective.
“I would think at least 75%, hopefully close to 80-85%,” Fauci articulated recently. “What I would love to see it like, let’s get comparable about this. Look at measles. Measles vaccine is 98% effective. Not too different from 94.5%. Everyone in the country, when you look at the recommendations and the implementation of measles, you get vaccinated. Measles is essentially eliminated from the country, and you only see measles outbreaks when people pull back from getting vaccinated.”
When the vaccine does become available, it will likely be given to healthcare workers and the elderly first.
A life long Mac user and Apple enthusiast, Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 6 years. His writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and most recently, TUAW. When not writing about and analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions, the most recent examples being The Walking Dead and Broad City.