The list of states reporting new infections from a highly-contagious coronavirus variant is growing...
"Not all these mutations are equal, some will actually change the virus and potentially make it spread easier," said epidemiologist Dr. David Engelthaler of TGen North.
This is leading health experts to believe that another virus surge could come, even as a third COVID-19 vaccine is closing in on authorization.
The U.S. has now reported nearly 26 million coronavirus cases and more than 430,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. It leads the world in both categories, with India second in cases and Brazil second in deaths.
A recent model showed a drop in infections and fatalities through the spring. But disease experts say the new variants could slow that progress.
New virus mutations could impact effectiveness of vaccines. Data from Johnson & Johnson Friday showed its new single-dose vaccine's efficacy rate dropped from 72% in the U.S. to 57% in South Africa, where a variant is driving a surge in cases. But approval of the third vaccine to date would accelerate vaccination efforts in the U.S.
"There essentially were no hospitalizations or deaths in the vaccine group," said Dr. Anthony Fauci. "This really tells us that we have now a value added additional vaccine candidate."