Health experts urge vaccination against COVID-19 to prevent new variants
COVID variants are taking over New Jersey. Health officials say that the UK variant is dominating the state. But researchers are tracking other mutations as well.
“While the virus is constantly one step ahead of us, we’re able to stay one step behind by utilizing all of our technology,” says Dr. David Perlin, chief scientific officer and senior vice president for the Hackensack Meridian Health Center for Discovery and Innovation. “And what we’re trying to do is narrow the gap.”
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Perlin is studying the virus in real-time, as people yearn to return to normal.
Some treatments are not as effective against a certain strain of the virus prevalent in New York and New Jersey. The virus mutates with outbreaks, infecting dozens of people.
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“Outbreaks that involve specific variants and they have signatures, genetic signatures which we can track,” says Perlin.
He says that if a chunk of the population is not vaccinated against the virus, it will mutate. No cases spur new variants.
“Individuals will respond to viral infection. They respond by mounting their own immune response. They mount neutralizing antibodies, and the virus can evolve,” Perlin says.
The good news is that so far, the vaccines are effective against the variants.