Speaking of mutations, Fauci notes they are a ‘wake up call’

During a White House coronavirus briefing, Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that the different mutations have “clinical consequences” that will need to be addressed.

Recent studies from Johnson & Johnson and Novavax have shown some protection in their vaccines against variants, but the results are far weaker against the B.1.351 strain, which was first discovered in South Africa.

“This is a wake-up call to all of us,” Fauci said. “We will continue to see the evolution of mutants so we … will have to be nimble to be able to just adjust readily to make versions of the vaccine that actually are specifically directed towards whatever mutation is actually traveling at any given time.”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky said the country is working to quickly ramp up its genomic sequencing in order to better identify the differing variants.

However, she said the virus is so widespread that every new case should be treated as if it were a new variant.