Another variant, first spotted in the UK, appears to make the virus more transmissible, the scientist said, which could overwhelm US hospitals if spread widely here. So far, around 20 states have discovered the British variant.
Taken together, according to Fauci, the new strains underscore the need to get rid of the disease as quickly as possible with an effective vaccination program. He said there were “alternative plans” if the need to change the vaccine ever emerged.
“It’s not a very stressful thing,” said Fauci. “But from the reports we literally have today, it appears that the vaccines will still be effective against them, with the caveat that you want to pay close attention to them.”
Fauci said he saw no evidence that the strain observed in South Africa found its way into the United States, but he admitted that “the level of comprehensive sequence monitoring has so far not been what we would have liked.” So we’ll look for it very, very carefully. “
Fauci’s comments come on the second day of the presidency from Joe Biden, who has signaled that the coronaviruses are his top priority. Biden plans to vaccinate 100 million Americans within the first 100 days of his tenure – a plan that Fauci described as a “sensible goal”. Fauci also stood by his earlier predictions that a critical mass in the country could be vaccinated by mid-year.