The Latest: US scientist assessing new virus variant risk
By The Associated Press undefined
WASHINGTON — Moncef Slaoui, the chief science adviser for the U.S. government’s COVID-19 vaccine effort, said scientists are still working to confirm whether the virus strain in the United Kingdom spreads more easily.
Although that could be why it has become more prevalent in the U.K., Slaoui said in a briefing with reporters Monday that another possible explanation is that “seeding happened in the shadows” before scientists started looking for it.
Animal studies are needed to confirm that the strain spreads more easily. Slaoui said that process takes several weeks.
In the meantime, he said there is no evidence the variant causes more severe disease or is more deadly. He also said the expectation is that vaccines would still be effective against the virus strain, but that scientists are working to confirm that.