As Covid Variants Take Hold, U.S. Has Few Options To Make More Vaccine
Politico examines the vaccine "manufacturing gap" and reports that experts say the United States has little capacity to manufacture revised vaccines or booster shots alongside the original versions. This comes as public health officials raise concerns about the increasing prevalence of variants of the covid virus.
The Big Hole In America's Plan To Fight Covid-19 Variants
The global scramble to produce enough Covid-19 vaccine for 7 billion people is about to get even tougher, as drugmakers and countries ready a second round of shots to combat the growing threat of virus variants. Finding vaccines that can ward off more contagious or virulent strains is only half the battle. The United States has virtually no capacity to manufacture revised vaccines or booster shots alongside the original versions, according to a half-dozen vaccine experts and Biden administration health officials. Setting up additional facilities could take months or even years. (Owermohle, 4/7)
CDC Director: U.K. COVID Variant Now Dominant Strain In U.S.
The B.1.1.7 coronavirus variant that originated in the United Kingdom is now the most common strain in the U.S., Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Rochelle Walensky said Wednesday at a White House briefing. Studies have shown the B.1.1.7 variant is more contagious than the original strain and is associated with a higher risk of death. (Chen, 4/7)
U.K. Coronavirus Variant Is Now The Dominant Strain In The U.S.
The spread of the U.K. variant, which scientists have found to be more contagious, adds to growing concerns that the country may be on the cusp of another surge. Both case numbers and hospitalizations are increasing, even as the U.S. is vaccinating an average of nearly 3 million people each day. Walensky reported that some of the recent clusters of cases have been linked to day care centers and youth sports, adding that the uptick in infections seem to be driven by young people. (Chow, 4/7)
In related news about the variants —
Variants A Factor In Florida Uptick In New COVID Cases, Experts Say
The Florida Department of Health reported 5,556 people tested positive for the coronavirus since Monday's report, bringing the total number of cases statewide to 2,090,862. Tuesday's report showed an increase of 2,076 in daily positive cases from Monday, when 3,480 cases were reported. (Lisciandrello, 4/7)
Los Angeles Times:
COVID-19 Vaccines Work Well Against California Variant
As the California coronavirus variant continues to spread across the Golden State and beyond, new research suggests that several vaccines should continue to provide an effective defense against it. The findings, published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, offer good reason for Californians to keep rolling up their sleeves as the vaccination campaign picks up steam across the state. “We’re not expecting this variant to be a problem for the vaccines — so that’s really good news,” said study leader David Montefiori, a virologist at Duke University. (Khan, 4/7)
WV Officials Urge Young People To Get Vaccinated As UK Variant Of COVID-19 Detected In Kanawha
West Virginia health officials on Wednesday warned that the United Kingdom variant of COVID-19 will make a significant impact in the state if young people do not get vaccinated at a higher rate. ... In West Virginia, the U.K. variant has been found in 19 counties, totaling 142 cases, state health officer Dr. Ayne Amjad said. The number has nearly tripled from just seven days ago, when 53 cases of the U.K. variant had been identified. The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department detected the first case of the U.K. variant in Kanawha County on Wednesday, breaking the mold of where most prior cases had been found. Infections have mostly been in border counties, Amjad said, with Berkeley, Monongalia and Ohio counties reporting the most variant cases. (Severino, 4/7)