National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Institute director Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Friday on CNN’s “New Day” that it was “possible” that the new COVID-19 variant B.1.1.529 from South Africa is already in the United States.
Fauci said, “Certainly there is a new variant that is now in South Africa in the Gauteng province that has some mutations that are raising some concern, particularly with regard to possibly transmissibility increase and possible evasion of immune response. We don’t know that for sure right now. This is something that’s in motion.”
Anchor Brianna Keilar said, “Is it possible it’s already in the U.S.?”
Fauci said, “You know, of course, anything is possible. We don’t know that. There is no indication that it is right now. It seemed to have been restricted. There were some cases that originated in South Africa and that went to Botswana, and people who traveled and found out they were infected, and one that had gone actually to Hong Kong. So there’s a lot of travel, you never know exactly where around. That’s the reason why we are getting together to them to try to get and the precise molecular makeup of it so you could actually test for it. That’s something that will take a little bit to put the appropriate materials together to do that. But we are in very active communication with our South African colleague scientists.
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