Current COVID-19 vaccines should still work on new virus variant: scientist

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 31 2020 01:56 PM | Updated as of Dec 31 2020 02:06 PM

MANILA - The current vaccines against COVID-19 should still work on the new variant of the virus that causes it, an infectious disease expert said on Thursday.

“Based on what we know, in terms of the degree of mutations, the correct vaccines should still work. We understand for now that the antibodies that are generated should still be able to neutralize it,” said Dr. Edsel Salvana, director of the UP Institute of Molecular Biology.

The United Kingdom has detected a new COVID-19 variant that appears to be more contagious.

Salvana, in an interview on ANC’s Headstart, said it is common for a virus to mutate, particularly the SARS-CoV 2 which causes the COVID-19.

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“Over time, we will take a look as more mutations happen. Hindi naman yan biglaan na magmu-mutate tapos hindi na gagana yung vaccines. With more mutations what will happen (is) it's going to be a gradual decrease from 90 percent, magiging 80, magiging 70 so we will have time and we can actually tweak the vaccines so they become more effective,” he said.

Salvana added that the Philippines has the facility to detect new COVID-19 variants.

“We have a core facility called the Philippine Genome Center that can do whole genome sequencing and they’re actually gonna start pretty soon,” he said.

The threat of a more contagious COVID-19 prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to impose a travel ban on 20 countries until Jan. 15.

Meanwhile, Salvana also gave his reaction to the report that some members of the Presidential Security Group were vaccinated against COVID-19 as early as September this year.

“I think that’s very dangerous. Any kind of use of drugs that have not been approved, authorized or regulated actually puts the person taking that drug at risk,” he said. 

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