Mutations in viruses occur continually and though many don't result in changes in disease severity or immune response, COVID-19 has mutated in some ways that concern scientists. These variants apparently originated in the United Kingdom, Brazil, and South Africa, though recently scientists have found evidence of about seven variants in the U.S. How and where are these variants developing -- and how well is the U.S. tracking them compared with other countries? How do current vaccines hold up against these variants and what work is being done now to prepare for new, potentially more virulent strains? We explore these questions and more.
Air date: Feb. 18, 2021
A. Oveta Fuller - Associate professor in microbiology and immunology at the University of Michigan Medical School. She has worked in Zambia, South Africa, and the U.S. on HIV/AIDS prevention and is now working on COVID-19. She serves on the FDA's Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, and she developed the "Trusted Messenger Intervention" program, which provides biomedical information through partnerships with leaders of religious organizations. Read about that program here. She is also an ordained minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church
Jose Mercado - Infectious disease physician and the Associate Hospital Epidemiologist at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. He is also an assistant professor at the Geisel School of Medicine and a medical director for hospital medicine at Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital.He is also co-host of a new podcast launched by Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health, The Cure, which addresses questions about the diagnosis, management and prevention of COVID-19.
William Moss - Executive Director of the International Vaccine Access Center at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Professor of Epidemiology at the Bloomberg School of Public Health. He is a pediatrician with subspecialty training in infectious diseases, and has worked in Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe and India among other countries.