“NIAID is rapidly conducting research to better understand these emerging variants of SARS-CoV-2, how they interact with the immune system, and their implications for COVID-19 therapeutic and vaccine formulations,” Fauci said testifying today along with Rochelle Walensky, CDC, in a hearing before Congress.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases and President Biden’s chief medical adviser, said in his written testimony today that while he is “cautiously optimistic” about the future, he is aware many challenges remain.
He pointed to the Covid-19 variants as one of those challenges.
“One of the most concerning developments of the ongoing pandemic is the detection of genetic variants of SARS-CoV-2, some of which appear to be more transmissible than the original virus and less responsive to certain therapeutic agents and vaccine formulations,” Fauci said.
He noted that so far, scientific evidence suggests that the Covid-19 vaccines that are currently being distributed in the United States “continue to be effective against these variants.” He urged the public, however, to “remain vigilant.”
He also noted that the variants may be a danger to all ages, including children, and studies are beginning to evaluate this contingency. According to the Associated Press in early March:
The variant of the coronavirus discovered in Britain is prevalent among Italy’s infected schoolchildren and is helping to fuel a “robust” uptick in the curve of COVID-19 contagion in the country, the health minister said Tuesday. Roberto Speranza told reporters that the variant, associated with higher transmission rates, has shown pervasiveness “among the youngest age group” of the population. In recent weeks, Italy’s incidence of new cases among young people has now eclipsed incidence among the older population, a reversal of how COVID-19 afflicted residents in the first months of the pandemic.AP from March 2, 2021
Note: other updates from today’s hearing before Congress about the vaccine rollout:
The CDC plans to update guidance on reducing physical distancing in schools to 3 feet, Walensky tells lawmakers. She said the agency is looking at studies that indicate physical distancing of 3 feet is sufficient to keep students and teachers safe in school.
Fauci says testing in the US will show by April whether AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine works safely. Testing in the US will show by April whether AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine works safely, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Wednesday. But he cast doubt on fears that the vaccine, developed with Britain’s University of Oxford, causes blood clots
“Long Covid” – a syndrome that affects many people who have recovered from the acute effects of coronavirus infection, needs more study, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Wednesday. He laid out the symptoms: “Profound fatigue, muscle aches, temperature dysregulation, unexplainable tachycardia and what people refer to as brain fog, which is just a strange feeling of being unable to focus or concentrate for any period of time,” Fauci said.