New concerns over COVID-19 variant detected in the UK

ABC News contributor Dr. John Brownstein discusses the COVID-19 variant in the UK and answers questions about the coronavirus vaccines.
7:02 | 12/22/20

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Transcript for New concerns over COVID-19 variant detected in the UK
And I want to bring an epidemiologist ABC news medical contributor doctor John Brownstein for more on this new mutation and the latest. On the vaccine. Doctor browsing dozens of countries are banning flights to and from. The UK right now in your medical opinion should the US be doing the same. If hi Diane. Immediate concern is that horses this new variant is rapidly replacing other parents we've seen this rapid rise of the last three weeks of ST increasing teachers across parts of England landed of course we seen through the exclusion of cheeses but the reality is this year and he's been around for weeks if not months and England captain David pre spin on the identify this area but it probably that we missed it in other parts of the globe is well you see this rock guitar pandemic where their appearance at emerge our surveillance as hasn't been good enough so you think you might try to banish that's -- really -- year implementation of intervention. And Robinson the basic things like. Testing pre boarding testing when you arrive we could be implementing forced quarantine where people get here. BC public health strategy is that should happen. A national scale we're seeing your implementing some of those British Diane national scale at this point and and we need really missed the mark. And I notice you saying very and we've also heard strain and mutation is there a difference between these words and which one are we dealing with here yeah. It's complicated and it's offensive in new Lawrence in genomic. Epidemiology you look at. These trees to shows are differences in genetic change across different viruses and the bars accumulate enough change sort of creates a new recall lineage and lineage can lead to new strains in this case it's likely new strain there's more work that's being done across my colleagues and use of genomics surveillance. And this is where it gets a little bit nuance but I think we can start to call this strange but one be careful not to think that this is one that will essentially beaten dominated version of what will happen in the US. More surveillance is really needed are two police are uncovered what is going garnish and clearly our surveillance it just hasn't been as good as it could be at this point so is variant kind of a more mild termed an award strain. Exactly it's apparent disregard rocks or turn that you know explains how these viruses are changing over time there they. These changes in the Mena. Since this particular area has seventeen changes which is a lot and that is why would likely we're restarting a college its own string. OK got it and mutations sort of covers it all and that that he's not that we know that we're safe Bledsoe. A so we've heard that this very end is in any more deadly but that it is more transmit a bowl. Then the originals so do we have to take any extra steps to protect ourselves from this version of it. Right the reason why we're concerned of course is the sum these changes at how. Happened are actually related to its like protein which we know. Oh lead she had the virus infecting cells. And this is why we think it's more transmissible. But it's important to know that we're still trying from the data how much more ash and we're not quite sure but. The evidence currently says that the virus is not more lethal doesn't. Cause more serious severe illness so it doesn't really change much in terms our strategy we have so much virus circulating in the country already that it be public you know that he's you know I've been speaking about for months now and watching social distancing Max fresh doubt the scene interventions regardless of whichever Daryn we're talking about. And scientists say that the vaccines that have already been created that are already out there invade. Should cover this how can it be sure about. Yes it's great question of course as scientists really concerned about this but the view is that it piece you know months years for the arts community. Should accumulate enough new species for just sort of misty did not. Vaccine right now this vaccine has about 12100 amino acids only about nine of them have really changed according as the Hungarian dish that's not a lot and our party can mount a response that. S and she. Covers these changes in the virus. The bigger issue that we think is what we call attention and dressed I noticed complicated term but what it means is the bar so eventually evolving to the point where the vaccine doesn't work that is what happens with the flu vaccine where we have to change it every year so the longer term concern is who we have to think about teacher coal rich vaccines that mutual all eyes this arts evolves that's. The question but I don't think it really impacts any change in the short term over coming months as we try to get this sort of mass immunization. Under way mr. right well that sounds like good news at least and I want me with some viewer questions if I can that I got on Twitter. One person wants to know now that both vaccines are in circulation. Who determines which one you get. Fred it's a great great question a lot of people wondering Italy even have a choice that the the route to the reality is people not how. Tourists Raef when it's your turn in line you'll just wanted to get that vaccine whichever one is available to you the good news is between science and Madeira their salsa bar right they're both Emory vaccine to both about 94%. Efficacy the very similar safety profile and minimal risk such so that the realities and also this team is is certain works across gender race so you know the reality it's you you won't get the vaccine that is available to you coach Andy they're both incredible a taxi an incredible option taxes and tariffs. And then how do you know when it's your turn to get vaccinated. If you or underlying condition qualifies as an underlying condition and then how do you prove. That you fall and that group. This is a big question and frankly. I don't think that all states are quite figured this out we know that the CDC is made his recommendations. Around certain vulnerable populations getting there the first you know there was one do you want CUR vaccine. It's an Chongqing. DC and how. To put be you know champions media social media to explain to people who is eligible points this he's he's putting out some trolls explain. And then it'll be sort of a testy activities at Forbes who or how. How dare I they have these conditions the probably have to work with their providers to provide them with information age certain documents he should attend conditions but it's going to be very complicated and I think it's going to be tough for people who fully understand herself she huge amount. Communication is really going to be needed to its laser you're you're you're you're part in the warrant for this vaccine over the coming months but I'm coming. Else I got asked at what you need and prescription for it. If you have to work with your provider errors is still something you're just an in a go to the pharmacy and get directly. You're gonna still be able to just go to the pharmacy and and get this taxiing. You me half to provide. Some of your insurance information but the vaccine is even the trees first for everyone that's ten have been made very clear whom are either prescription you'll need to verify some some basic information about yourself but. The vaccine will be made available to everyone. Right back to John Brownstein thank you as always for answering all our questions.

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

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