The variant of the coronavirus identified for the first time in the United Kingdom is currently the predominant one in the United States, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Wednesday, something that a few months ago had been warned would happen. in the country.
“According to our most recent estimates from the CDC surveillance team, variant B.1.1.7 is now the most common lineage circulating in the United States “Rochelle Walensky said at a White House appearance, as quoted by CNN.
This variant has been classified by the CDC as a “worrying”, in part because there is evidence that its transmission capacity is greater and that it causes the covid-19 disease to be more severe, including a higher rate of hospitalizations and deaths. . The specific British variant can be 50% more contagious, according to the CDC.
The CDC also adds, this variant can “significantly” reduce the neutralization of antibodies generated during a previous infection or vaccination and affects the effectiveness of treatments or vaccines.
Variant B.1.1.7 was detected for the first time in September in Kent, an English town in the south-east of the country. Since then it had spread to more than 50 countries as of the end of January.
“Variants of concern may require one or more relevant public health actions, such as notification to the World Health Organization (WHO) (…) further testing or research to determine the effectiveness of vaccines and treatments against it. Taking into account the characteristics of the variant, other considerations may include developing new diagnoses or modifying vaccines or treatments, “the CDC explains.
The highest transmission capacity of this British variant may complicate efforts to curb the pandemic in the United States, where the Joe Biden government has accelerated vaccination with the goal of immunizing 200 million people in its first 100 days but cases have increased in the past weeks.
Thus “it is necessary to be vaccinated as quickly and expeditiously as possible”Anthony Fauci said in early February. “Viruses cannot mutate if they do not replicate. It will not only protect people from getting infected, but it will also prevent the appearance of variants, “he added at the time.