Genetic mutations have been noted in the COVID-19 virus, with variants in the United Kingdom (B.1.1.7), South Africa (B.1.351), Brazil (P.1), all of which are now in the United States. In addition, new variants have been found in New York City (B.1.526) and California (CAL.20C).
Scientists are rushing to study the efficacy of the vaccines with these new variants. Most of the current vaccines appear to still be effective against the variants, though reduced efficacy was seen depending on the vaccine and the variant:
Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech have done in-vitro testing which means they have used sera from vaccinated individuals to test against the new strains:
Johnson & Johnson (clinical trial results)
Efforts are already being to understand how a vaccine booster or changes in the vaccine itself can target these new variants.
Updated: March 3, 2021