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Over the last few weeks, health experts are warning that the COVID-19 variants that have been popping up around the world, will likely soon become the dominating strains. So, what should you be doing to avoid becoming infected with the virus mutations? During Friday’s White House COVID-19 Response Team Briefing, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, revealed the tools that are available in the battle against the COVID-19 mutations. Read on to learn how to avoid the variants—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
Dr. Fauci Said the Vaccine Helps Protect Against the Mutation
Dr. Fauci explained that the United States will likely follow in the footsteps of many European countries, who experienced “a decrease in cases over a six week period,” before plateauing. “And now over the past week, they saw an increase in cases by 9%—something we desperately want to avoid,” he explained.
While it is natural for viruses including SARS-COV2 to mutate, (“I refer to it as virology 101,” he said) they do have one major flaw. “They have poor proofreading mechanisms,” he revealed. “A virus cannot mutate if it doesn't replicate and it replicates in an infected individual.”
Therefore, when there is a lot of community spread, a virus is more likely to evolve and mutate. “Variants again evolve because of selection pressures, namely just fundamental pressure to enhance its own replication and propagate itself, as well as pressure to evade neutralizing antibodies,” he said.
This is where vaccines come in, and why getting the vaccine is a crucial part of avoiding the mutated strain. “This has important implications for vaccines, as well as the potential role of immunosuppressed people who get infected, don't clear the virus very rapidly, and allow it to mutate in the individual,” he said. “So a suboptimal immune response favors the generation of variance.”
He continued to explain that when you get a first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, “you get a response that is protected. In this case, it would be about 52%. However, the second dose brings that level of antibodies quite high, which gives it redundancy to prevent the evolution as well as to protect against viral variance.”
“Said in a just plain and simple way, suboptimally human responses to wild type virus promote the generation of variances and the lack of potency or redundancy other than immune response to protect and suppress variance is another issue of concern.”
How to Stay Safe During This Pandemic
Therefore, getting vaccinated is key in ending the mutation. Additionally, “adherence to the public health measures in an arena of a high baseline of infections with masks, distance, avoiding congregant settings, washing hands.”
So follow Fauci’s fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—wear a face mask that fits snugly and is double layered, don’t travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.