American lab studying new, more contagious COVID-19 strains

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston is studying new variants of the novel coronavirus, which have been found in four U.S. states so far, to determine how effective vaccines are on these mutations.
2:43 | 01/05/21

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Transcript for American lab studying new, more contagious COVID-19 strains
continue with more on the coronavirus crisis and the race against time with that new fast-spreading variant now identified in New York and several other states. The big question will the vaccines work against it? Janai Norman is with us this morning. Good morning, janai. Reporter: Hey, Michael. Good morning. The environment roll gist told me virus's are expected to mutate and says that these two variants are likely just the beginning and will almost certainly be more and that's why it's so important for scientists to carefully monitor these new variants like the one now confirmed here in New York. This morning another confirmed case of that highly contagious variant of the coronavirus in the U.S. This time in New York. A 60-year-old man with no history of recent travel. He was symptomatic but he is on the mend and he's doing better. Reporter: That patient connected to this Sara toga springs jewelry store. Three others testing positive but not known if they contracted that same variant first detected in the uk. New York now the fourth state in the country along with Colorado, California and Florida to have known cases of the uk variant believed to be more contagious but not more deadly than the original strain of coronavirus. Experts say it's likely in even more states. By the time a new variant is detected it's already probably widespread. Reporter: Dr. Dan Baruch is one of the scientists trying to keep up with new variants causing concern. Not only the uk strain but now experts say another variant first detected in South Africa may spread even more easily. At this lab in Boston they are studying the sequence of variants found in the uk and South Africa to determine how effective covid vaccines are. The general suspicion is that these current variants are still likely susceptible to vaccines, however, we don't know that yet and experiments will be under way in many labs across the world to determine that in the very near future. Reporter: But Dr. Baruch calls it a race against time to get the pandemic under control. The emergence of the new variants increases the need for a rapid vaccine rollout, a rapid vaccine campaign in the united States and throughout the world and also it increases the importance of public health measures. Reporter: And Dr. Baruch says having a vaccine certainly helps but says the U.S. Should be doing more covid testing, more tracing and more testing for covid variants because he says early detection of a new variant is key. Thank you so much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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