COVID-19 virus, variants and vaccines update
When it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Gregory Poland, an infectious diseases expert and head of Mayo Clinic's Vaccine Research Group, says there's some good news. "Case numbers are falling, masking and distancing do work, and we can control this if we do it right."
However, the not so good news is that variants are showing up in over 30 countries and are reportedly more transmissible. There also seems to be a reduction in vaccine efficacy against the new variants.
"This is a desperate race between vaccine and virus, between time and opportunity, and we dare not lose that opportunity," emphasizes Dr. Poland.
In this Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Poland discusses how COVID-19 viruses mutate into new variants. He also discusses recent COVID-19 research conducted by the NFL, plus he touches on the future of individualized vaccines. "I can see the development of a coronavirus vaccine against multiple types of coronavirus, including the one that causes the common cold, and very likely combine that with the influenza vaccine."
To practice safe social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, this interview was conducted using video conferencing. The sound and video quality are representative of the technology used. For the safety of its patients, staff and visitors, Mayo Clinic has strict masking policies in place. Anyone shown without a mask was recorded prior to COVID-19 or recorded in an area not designated for patient care, where social distancing and other safety protocols were followed.
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Information in this post was accurate at the time of its posting. Due to the fluid nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, scientific understanding, along with guidelines and recommendations, may have changed since the original publication date.
Dr. Poland has served as a consultant for Merck & Co. Inc., Medicago Inc., GlaxoSmithKline plc, Sanofi Pasteur, Emergent BioSolutions Inc., Dynavax Technologies Corp., Genentech Inc., Eli Lilly and Co., Kentucky BioProcessing Inc. and Genevant Sciences Corp., and Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. He is a paid scientific adviser for Johnson & Johnson. Honoraria: Elsevier.