By Jacqueline Quynh

DENVER (CBS4) – A new strain of the coronavirus is raising concerns in the United Kingdom and across Europe. The UK is now under strict lockdown, while nearby countries have banned travel to and back from there.

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“This current finding suggests that there’s a new batch of genetic mutations that are allowing this virus to spread a little bit more readily,” Dr. James Neid, Medical Center of Aurora Infection Control Director, said.

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It’s unclear if the new strain found in the UK has made its way here. Neid said it would make sense that travelers would be more likely to get infected with the new variant.

“So when the genes change sometimes a virus will become more likely to infect,” he explained.

However, viruses such as the novel coronavirus are expected to mutate.

“If the genes change in the test, the correct tests are based on a certain type of gene that’s now different that might change the diagnostic,” he said.

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(credit: CBS)

So, what does this mean for getting a COVID-19 vaccine in the near future?

“Well, I think that analogy between the COVID vaccines and the influenza vaccines are similar in that in every year the influenza vaccine may not be a perfect match, but it still provides significant impact or benefits,” Neid said.

In other words, getting either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine is still a good idea, it could make infection from a different strain less severe.

“So now they just have a playbook for certain mutations to watch out for,” he added.

Neid doesn’t want anyone to lose sleep over a new strain. He believes researchers are already studying the new strain to fight it.

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The nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci so far has recommended against a travel ban to the UK based on the information he has at this time.

Jacqueline Quynh