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Early data shows vaccine is effective against new strain of COVID-19

KSN Digital Extra

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The new strain of the coronavirus has been confirmed in nine states with the number continuing to increase — spreading to additional states.

The coronavirus variant first appeared in the United Kingdom last year, now there are a total of 76 cases being reported to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Kansas is not one of them, but one KU School of Medicine-Wichita professor and director for the Center of Clinical Research, Dr. Tiffany Schwasinger-Schmidt said the new strain may be in Kanas. However, she said early data on the vaccine is promising.

“What we’ve seen so far is that people that have received the vaccine haven’t had any trouble with it,” said Dr. Schwasinger-Schmidt. “So it’s still protecting against this new variant that we are seeing.”

She said there isn’t a lot of data behind the effectiveness of the vaccine due to it being so new, but based upon what researchers have seen so far, it appears that people are still getting protection despite the strength of the new strain. The strain has adapted and mutated, causing those infected to have more severe symptoms and prolonged illness.

Dr. Schwasinger-Schmidt said although the new vaccine is providing hope, everyone should still adhere to safety guidelines from the CDC.

“We know it’s here, I mean I think that’s the simple answer, we know it’s here,” said Dr. Schwasinger-Schmidt. So all the things we’ve been telling people and really being able to keep each other safe, social distancing, wearing masks, washing your hands, limiting gathering sizes that’s still so incredibly important especially where this new variant is close.”

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