The former Chief of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Dr. Scott Gottlieb has warned health officials in the US that the new strain of COVID19 found in South Africa is more dangerous than ever. He has said that the South African variant of the virus might ditch the medical countermeasures such as antibody drugs. At present, the new strain is prevalent in South Africa and Brazil, the two parts of the world, which are undergoing summer season but at the same time, both countries are struggling with quite a dense pandemic. The South African new variant is known as 501.V2. The officials have said that since November, the new variant has been replacing other strains of COVID19 across the country. As per the report, South Africa has witnessed more than 1.1 million cases of COVID19 since the pandemic has hit the country. More than 30000 people have lost their lives due to the virus across the continent so far.
Dr. Scott Gottlieb has said that some shreds of experimental evidence from Bloom Lab have shown that the 501.V2 strain of the virus might be able to ditch prior immunity partially. It means that some amount of the antibodies produced by people who have been infected with the virus earlier and other antibody drugs might not work effectively on the new variant found in South Africa. Experts have said that the new variant has mutated a part of the spike protein that antibody drugs latch on to eliminate the virus itself. It is a huge matter of concern for health experts, said Dr. Scott Gottlieb. He has said that vaccines might become a roadblock for these new variants of the virus, which are trying to get a foothold in the United States. However, the US government needs to speed up the immunization program in the country, looking at the current situation. The director of Supply and Distribution of the Operation Warp Speed, Rt. Lt. Gen. Paul Ostrowski has said that anybody who wants a vaccine will be able to get one by June 2021.
Experts have said that the officials are not able to meet their targets of the vaccination program in the US. However, around 17 million doses have been allocated to states. The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said that only 4.8 million people in the US have been able to receive their first shots of the vaccine. Dr. Scott Gottlieb has advised that the US government needs to take some measures to accelerate the vaccination drive in the country, such as vaccinating prioritized groups of people more quickly, increasing the number of vaccination sites, and storing a smaller percentage of doses to immunize more people. He has said that the US government needs to immunize as many people as possible before new variants of the virus become more prominent in the US.