Vaccines and drugs aren’t the only weapons in the pandemic’s arsenal. In this blog, we are discussing if Coronavirus variants are going to wipe out all our recent progress or not. It’s all about finding out how viruses mutate and alter inside and among us.
As highly infectious variants take advantage of Americans’ weak protection policies, the United States risks losing all of its recent gains in the fight against Covid-19. Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director of CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), says, “Please hear me loud and clear: At this pace of cases with Coronavirus variants spreading, we risk losing all of the hard-won ground.”
After weeks of an increase in cases, new infections are yet again on the rise. Dr. Walensky said on Monday; there is about a 2% increase compared to the previous week. On the other hand, the most current 7 day average of mortality has risen by higher than 2%, which takes the number to almost 2,000 a day. Walensky also scolded states for giving up on Covid-19 safety criteria.
She further says, Reports that more states are scaling back the same public health interventions we suggested to protect people from Covid-19 make me very concerned. “Please stay firm in your belief. Continue covering your face with a properly fitting mask and taking the additional public health prevention activities that work,” Walensky further adds.
“In the end, vaccination will be what saves us from this pandemic. We’ll need to vaccinate a lot more people to get there.”
A third vaccine would aid mass vaccination efforts
This week’s good news is that there will be the introduction of Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine. Dr. Eric Rubin, an educator at Harvard, said, “This requirement of this vaccine is urgent.”
New viral variants are coming out and spreading everywhere. Moreover, experts say that there are chances that these new variants may become resistant to the protection and prevention by the vaccine. Therefore, getting vaccinated is imperative.
According to a senior Biden administration official, they will distribute more than 3.9 million doses of the J&J vaccine to tribes, territories, states, health centers, and pharmacies. Moreover, they will deliver those doses as soon as possible, probably as early as this Tuesday morning.
Walensky also says that because the J & J is a single-shot vaccine, people do not need to come back for a second dose of the vaccine. Furthermore, there is no need to keep this vaccine in the freezer and be kept at room temperature. As supply expands, it will be easier to transport and store, allowing for increased distribution in most neighborhood settings and mobile sites.
Efficacy rates of vaccines
The other vaccines which are currently in distribution are one from Moderna and the other from Pfizer-BioNTech. They both have efficacy rates of about 95%, with even more trustworthy protection towards the new variants of coronavirus disease. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine demonstrated a 72 percent efficacy rate against moderate to severe/critical disease in US trial participants. It’s more effective against serious disease, offering about 85% defense.
J&J’s marginally lower numbers do not discourage Americans, according to health experts. When the dangerous B.1.351 strain was widespread in South Africa, the J&J vaccine was tested. Its vaccine was studied later than the other 2 vaccines when diseases were still increasing, and the latest variant strains were gaining momentum. As a result, it offered excellent protection against serious illness.
Don’t be too selective when it comes to vaccines
Health experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, confirm that if the Johnson & Johnson vaccines were the only one available in the U.S, they would happily get it because it is very effective against coronavirus. On the other hand, all three vaccines currently available in the United States are also efficient against significant Covid-19.
Further, if J&J is the only vaccine available in your vicinity, you should consider getting it. CNN Medical Analyst says on Monday, get it once you’re able to. Remember the other vaccinations we get. When we go in for the flu vaccine, I don’t think anyone inquires about the flu vaccine’s brand (or) the business that produces it.
Moreover, “people will not have an option shortly when accessibility is the main factor,” she said. “Right now, the most crucial thing is to achieve some form of immunity. Take whatever vaccine is readily available to you. When supply is not a problem, you can still get added booster or vaccine shot later.”
New Coronavirus Variants continue to spread
March will be a crucial month in this pandemic. According to the CDC, the deadly B.1.1.7 variant, first identified in the United Kingdom, can become the principal strain in the US this month.
According to the CDC, higher than 2,460 infections, including variant strains, have been identified. The B.1.1.7 strain is responsible for the enormous majority of such cases (at least 2,400).
Those estimates are almost certainly much smaller than the true number of people infected with variants. According to the CDC, the figures only include variant cases identified by genomic sequencing.
The United States has tended to lag behind hundreds of other countries in terms of the proportion of cases checked for variants, but the CDC says it’s trying to catch up.
Can vaccines protect against new variants?
Pfizer-BioNTech, Johnson & Johnson, and Moderna are all working to ensure that their vaccines lead to Coronavirus variants. On Monday, Dr. Heather Scobie, speaking at the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices conference, says the B.1.351 variant, initially discovered in South Africa, has the most concerning consequences on vaccines’ capacity to produce an immune system response.
Scobie told the ACIP meeting that “five types of research have revealed that delaying the second mRNA dose may leave some individuals less defended against the Coronavirus variants.” She also stated that two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine are more effective than one dose. Both Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are mRNA vaccines.
“All types of research revealed enhanced neutralization of B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 after the second dose of vaccine,” she said. “Individuals who improved from Covid-19 and took one vaccine dose had reasonable protection against B.1.351 in some studies.”
Johnson & Johnson is working on a booster to assist its Covid-19 vaccine accord with new coronavirus strains, according to CEO Alex Gorsky.
Many vaccines for achieving herd immunity
While discovering a third Covid-19 vaccine is a cause for celebration, the United States is still a long way from achieving herd immunity. When sufficient individuals are resistant to a virus, it is unable to spread throughout the population. According to CDC data, 15.3% of the United States population has undergone at least one dose of their two-dose Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine. Furthermore, about 7.7% of Americans have got both doses.
Vaccines for Children
Dr. Macaya Douoguih, head of medical affairs and clinical development for J&J’s vaccine arm, Janssen, says that now that studies show that Johnson & Johnson vaccine is safe and effective in adults, we will start studies with children.
She further says that they will conduct studies on 17 years and younger children and research pregnant women in their initial stages. In the third quarter of this year, Johnson & Johnson plans to start a study on immunocompromised people, according to Douoguih.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine currently has an emergency use authorization from the FDA for adults aged 18 and up. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is recommendable for individuals 16 years and up, whereas the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine is for those 18 years and up. Children have begun enrolling in Covid-19 vaccine trials at both Moderna and Pfizer.
In conclusion, since the COVID-19, as well as other variants, are still widespread in the U.S, individuals should consider getting the vaccines available in their area. Besides, precautionary measures such as wearing masks, social distance are equally necessary.