Will Current COVID-19 Vaccines Work Against U.K. Strain Of Coronavirus?

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — The state Department of Public Health has confirmed the second case of the new U.K. strain of the coronavirus in Massachusetts.

Dr. Todd Ellerin, Director of Infectious Diseases at South Shore Health, said he is taking the U.K. COVID-19 variant very seriously, as studies show it's up to 50 percent more infectious than the dominant strain of the virus.

"It looks like these are more contagious, and may have a competitive advantage in their fitness," Dr. Ellerin said, "meaning they can infect cells more efficiently."

While the new variant may be more contagious, Dr. Ellerin said it's too soon to determine whether the U.K. mutation is resistant to the COVID-19 vaccines currently being distributed.

"Right now, we have no data that says these vaccines are going to be less effective," Dr. Ellerin said. "The preliminary data from at least one of the vaccine companies says they think, with the U.K. variant, the vaccine will be effective."

Dr. Ellerin said the safest option is for everyone to get the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as they can.

"I want to remain optimistic, [and] remind you when you get vaccinated, yes you develop neutralizing antibodies... yes, with the U.K. variant there are mutations in that key area, but you also develop other antibodies, and you develop other types of immune cells that don't bind tho those specific mutations," Dr. Ellerin said. "So theres still a good change the vaccine is going to be effective."

WBZ NewsRadio's Kim Tunnicliffe reports:

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Written by Brit Smith

(Photo: Getty Images)

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