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'It mutates very, very quickly': Valley doctor explains COVID-19 variants

1 month 3 weeks 2 days ago Wednesday, February 24 2021 Feb 24, 2021 February 24, 2021 10:42 PM February 24, 2021 in News - Local

As more COVID-19 vaccines roll out, variants of COVID-19 are being detected. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, currently there are three new variants of COVID-19 causing concern for health experts.

The variants include: A variant found in the United Kingdom, a variant found in South Africa and a variant found in Brazil.

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"Viruses, such as the SARS-COV2 virus, the virus that causes COVID-19, is made of RNA," said Dr. John Thomas, the director of the UT Health RGV Clinical Lab. "This RNA genetic material is very, very subject to mutations. It mutates very, very quickly."

Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), have said that both the Pfizer and the Moderna vaccines offer good protections against all new variants. 

Thomas said the thinking behind getting vaccinated while we are "fresh into this phase of all these mutants popping up," is that if enough people are vaccinated, it will reduce the infection occurring, therefore reducing the amount of new variants.

READ ALSO: 'Should not have happened': UT Health RGV apologizes for denying COVID-19 vaccine to people over proof of residency

Thomas said the mutations are not happening as the virus is floating in the air, it happen when it's inside of a person.

On Monday, the FDA gave COVID-19 vaccine makers the green light to modify shots as variants emerged. 

"If you can prevent the person from being infected with the virus in the first place, you're going to reduce the frequency of the virus to mutate," Thomas said.

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