Fauci warns of ‘urgent need’ for super vaccine as other variants emerge

New variants will pose continued threat, NIAID chief warns

John Bowden,Megan Sheets
Tuesday 11 January 2022 19:20
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Dr Anthony Fauci warned at a Senate committee hearing that the US faced an “urgent need” for a so-called super vaccine that would be more effective at preventing new variants of Covid-19 and other coronaviruses.

“Looking ahead in the context of the inevitable continual emergence of new variants, the importance of developing a pan-coronavirus vaccine, namely one that would be effective against all SARS-COVID-2 variants, and ultimately against all coronaviruses, becomes even more apparent,” he told the senators on Tuesday.

He added that there was an “urgent need for such an effort”, and added that NIAID was making significant progress on the issue.

Such a vaccine would theoretically be effective against not only Covid-19, but a wide range of diseases that fall under the coronavirus umbrella, including the common cold.

His remarks come as concerns have been raised by medical experts about the Omicron variant’s effectiveness at evading the protection provided by the vaccine at a higher rate than other variants.

Breakthrough cases often prevent as mild or asymptomatic cases, but can still leave individuals debilitated for days and potentially facing long-term symptoms.

A timeline for the development of such a vaccine was not given at Tuesday’s hearing.

The three vaccines available in the US were developed over 2020 under “Operation Warp Speed”, a White House-led effort under the Trump administration to speed the funding and development process for vaccine candidates. Despite this, vaccine hesitancy persists across the United States in many communities but particularly in conservative areas where resistance to getting the jab has mirrored similar discomfort with mask mandates, social distancing guidelines and other anti-Covid preventative measures.

Dr Fauci has served on the Covid-19 advisory team under two presidents, now serving under Joe Biden, though he famously clashed with former President Donald Trump throughout 2020 over the latter’s spread of misinformation related to the virus.

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