Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks at White House COVID-19 presser

President Joe Biden's chief medical adviser explained how the country is coping with the new virus mutations and the latest on vaccines.
8:10 | 01/21/21

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Transcript for Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks at White House COVID-19 presser
Terry Moran in our nation's capital are coming on there because White House president Terry Jen Saki delivering. Remarked James S Brady briefing room on what president Biden's first full day in office. Is like listen just. To give you a bit of a run of show here. Doctor fatuous speech the top about the seat of the pandemic the status of vaccines. Help take some of your questions. I will play the role of the bad cop on its time for him to go and get to the work of the American people and then I rule do Tucker and I'll answer punch your questions as well so. There's lots to come after this that that I will turn it over to doctor top. Thank you very much and I'm gonna just spend a couple of minutes. Just summarizing. The status of where we are. And then maybe addressing some of the things that I know on people's. Minds so first of all obviously we are still in a very serious situation they need to have over 400000. Gas is something that you know is that unfortunately historic in the very and a very bad sense. When you look at the number of new infections that we have it still at a very very high rate hospitalizations. Are up there are certain areas of the country. As I think you're all familiar with which are really stressed. From the standpoint of dad's from the standpoint. Of the stress on the health care system. However. When you look more recently. At least seven day average of cases remember we were going between three and 400002. And 300000. Right now it looks like. It might actually be plateauing in the sense of turning around. Now the is good news in that but you have to be careful. That we may now be seen perhaps an artifact an artifact of the slowing down following the holidays so when we see that. We think it's real. But one of the things and it's adjusting on Saudi getting it deja Vu standing up here because I said something like this home was a little bit less than a year ago we were talking about the the acceleration of cases. In the late winter early spring. 20/20 where we were having in New York City metropolitan area being. The epi center of what was going on. Dad they are all always lags so please be the be aware of that. Debt when you have cases. And then a couple of weeks later you see it represented an hospitalizations. Intensive care and then a couple of weeks later in deaths. So you have almost a paradoxical Kurds we see something plateauing in May be coming down. At the same time as hospitalizations. And deaths might actually be going up so this is something that I just put on your radar screen. It is not and in usual thing. To see that sort of thing the the other point I want to make. Is one that we getting asked a lot regarding questions that it that is. What is it about these mutants that you're hearing about communes in the UK UKE which we know. Aren't about twenty plus states the U cadet mutants that was seeing in South Africa aired an and Brazil. Kristobal we need to understand that RNA viruses like. Corona viruses mutate all the time most of the mutations. Don't have any physiological. Relevance with regard to the function. Of the virus itself. However every once in awhile you get mutations either singly well clustered in combinations. Which do have an impact. So what have we learned thus far. And I want to emphasize thus far because we are paying them very very careful attention to this and we take it very seriously. At least from the experience that our colleagues in the UK have had. Didn't one that is in the UK. Appears to have a greater degree of transmits ability about twice as much as what we call the wild type. The original virus the one that he is in South Africa is a bit difference and I'll get to that in the second. So which doesn't look like it increases. Their chance miss ability. They say. Correctly. On a one to one basis. It doesn't seem to make. The virus more virulent all have a greater chance of making you seriously ill will killing you. However we shouldn't be lulled into complacency about that. Because if you have a virus does more transmissible. You can get more cases when you get more cases he gonna get more hospitalizations. Somebody give mosque realizations you ultimately gonna get more deaths so we even though the virus on a one to one basis is the most serious. The phenomenon. Of a more transmissible virus is something that you take seriously. The next thing is does it change enough. To interfere with the efficacy of a whole group of monoclonal antibodies that many if you are aware of the monoclonal antibodies that are being used for treatment in some cases and prevention. Since monoclonal antibodies blind to a very specific part of the virus when busy mutation there. It has much greater chance of obliterating the efficacy of a monoclonal antibody and were seen in the much more concerning. Mutations that are in South Africa and in some respects Brazil which is similar to South Africa. That is having an effect on the monoclonal antibodies the real question that people. Quite clearly interest that in his what is the impact on the vaccine. And so far. Literally we have this new phenomenon that are pre premium to the journals where. Where people get data and they put it into a pre print server where it hasn't yet been peer reviewed. But you have to pay attention to it because it gives you a good information. Quickly ultimately gets confirmed. It was seeing them coming out over the last few days and what they're saying is that what we likely will be seeing is a diminution. More South Africa than UK. UK is that diminution in what would be the efficacy. Of the vaccine. Induced antibodies. Now that does not mean that the vaccines. Will not be effective and let me explain why. There's a thing called a cushion affect. So if you have a vaccine like remote Darren and defies a vaccine. That can suppress the virus said a dilution let's say over one to a thousand. And the mutant. Influences it by bringing it down to maybe once of the 2800. Something like that you're still well above. The line of not being affected so there's that question that even though it's diminished somewhat. It's still is affected. That's what we're seeing both certainly with the UK which is very minimal effect. We have why we're following very carefully the one in South Africa which is a little bit more concerning. But nonetheless not something that we don't think that we can handle. What is the message because someone could say now wait a minute if you have the possibility. Debt the vaccines are diminishing and there impact why we've exceeding the book no. It is all the more reason why we should be -- evading his many people as you possibly can. Because as long as the virus is out there replicating. Viruses. Don't mutate unless they replicate. And if you can put suppress that. By a very good vaccine campaign. Then you could actually avoid. This deleterious effect that you might get from the mutations. Bottom line we're paying very close attention to which. There are alternative plans if we ever have to modify the vaccine. That is not something that is a very onerous onerous thing we can do that given the platforms we have. But right now from the reports we have literally as of today. It appears that the vaccines will still. Be effective against him with a caveat in mind he wanted to stay close attention to it.

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

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