The director of US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Anthony Fauci, on Friday, January 29, said that the UK strain of the novel coronavirus will become more dominant in the US by the middle of the spring. He added that it is not clear yet if the South African coronavirus strain will eventually dominate in the US. It is, however, considered to be more infectious than the original strain.
“The projection that is made with regard to the UK [variant] is that by the end of March, the beginning of April it actually will become more dominant in this country”, said Fauci. While speaking at the NIH vaccine data discussion, Fauci also raised an alarm over the latest trial results from Janssen and Novavax. He said that their vaccines proved to be less effective against the new variant of the virus. He said that it is a "wake up call" for everyone because the new variants will continue to evolve until it is blocked from replicating.
This comes just days after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the new UK mutant of the coronavirus identified in southeast England has a higher rate of mortality than the SARS-CoV-2. During the Downing Street press conference, the UK PM warned that the government might introduce broader restriction measures as the new strain detected in September might be 30 per cent deadlier than previously thought. He said that the variant identified as B.1.1.7, spreads nearly 30-70 per cent faster than the dominant coronavirus strain. "iI may be associated with a higher degree of mortality", said Johnson.
The new UK and South African variants reportedly spread faster than all other previous strains identified since the start of the pandemic. Scientists have noted that the new variant also contributes to higher viral loads in COVID-19 patients. The United States is the worst affected country by the COVID-19 pandemic as it has reported more than 25 million cases and over 4,33,000 deaths so far, more than any other nation in the world.