Ghana

Officials downplay concern over new Covid-19 variant found in New York

By Peter Szekely

NEW YORK – New York mayor Bill de Blasio’s chief medical adviser on Thursday downplayed the results of two studies suggesting that a new coronavirus variant found in New York City in November will be more resistant to vaccines now being administered.

Dr. Jay Varma said it was premature to infer from laboratory results how effective the vaccines would be on the variant, echoing concerns of other scientists who questioned why preliminary studies are given to the media ahead of academics.

“We really don’t know enough about human immunity to draw those direct conclusions,” Varma said at a briefing along with the mayor. “That’s why we do clinical trials. That’s where we collect data continuously.”

Clinical trials of the vaccines, Varma noted, including those done in other countries, such as Brazil and South Africa, have shown that they are “incredibly effective” at preventing death and severe illness.

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