Anchor lead: How worried should we be about new Covid-19 variants? Elizabeth Tracey reports
Variants on the Covid-19 virus have popped up from at least three places around the world, scientists have found, with the potential for enhanced transmission person to person. Brian Garibaldi, a critical care medicine expert at Johns Hopkins, says his main concern isn’t the existing variants, it’s the overall rate of infection.
Garibaldi: The thing that I’m more concerned about is the fact that we’ve let this virus run rampant. And with so many people who are infected it has so many more opportunities to gather these mutations that by chance, might lead to a virus that does evade the vaccines. Now it is true that these vaccines can be modified very easily the platform that they’ve used, the mRNA vaccines they can modify the mRNA so that we make an immune response to these new variants if they become problematic. Right now I don’t think we need to do that. We certainly need to see more data in people who’ve been vaccinated. :29
Garibaldi emphasizes that the best course for us all is to keep up with masking, distancing, and limiting interactions with others and to be vaccinated as soon as possible. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.