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Expert: The COVID-19 vaccine will protect you from the new variant of the virus

According to experts, the new strain spreads more quickly because it has a change in the surface protein of the virus. That change allows it to bind to the receptor that is found on the host cell tighter. Tighter binding in this case means a more infectious virus.

Posted: Jan 11, 2021 11:40 PM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - On Monday the Indiana State department of health announced that the new strain of COVID-19 made its way to Indiana. When asked where the variant was found ISDH said they could not share the information due to privacy laws. While this new variant is not any more deadly, it is more contagious.

According to experts, the new strain spreads more quickly because it has a change in the surface protein of the virus. That change allows it to bind to the receptor that is found on the host cell tighter. Tighter binding in this case means a more infectious virus. Dr. Richard Kuhn with the Purdue Institute of Inflammation, Immunology and Infectious Disease says these types of mutations are normal.

"It’s likely that it will become the dominant strain over the next two months or so I think that's a likely outcome of this,” said Dr. Kuhn. “Viruses are always evolving so there will be other variants too. I hope that the vaccine will also protect people from them as well.

Early studies that have been released suggest that the Pfizer vaccine will protect people against this variant virus. Dr. Kuhn says that the Moderna vaccine is showing the same results.

Dr. Kuhn says the only way a vaccine would not work is if the virus had multiple changes in its surface protein, which he says is unlikely to happen. However, in a worst-case scenario, the vaccine could be altered if needed.

“The beauty of the vaccine is that it can be easily changed so we could make changes that now represent the new variant virus,” added Dr. Kuhn.

He says the faster we get people vaccinated the better. When people are vaccinated against COVID-19, they cannot get the virus, which is how it mutates.

“Everybody is their own little incubator,” said Dr. Kuhn. “When you have kids around they are incubators of all kinds of viruses. But now think of this as every one of us that gets infected as an incubator and we can put out different variants of the same virus.”

While the virus isn’t more deadly the fact that the vaccine is more contagious is cause for concern.

“More contagious means that more people are probably going to get infected with the virus,” said Dr. Kuhn. “So the more people that get infected the higher incident of disease and you are going to get more deaths.”

That is why it is important for people to be vaccinated as soon as they can.

“When people have the opportunity to get the vaccine they should do so,” said Dr. Kuhn. “The vaccine is not going to cause COVID-19. It is not going to change your genetic makeup. It’s as safe as they come and right now it’s our only protection.”

Dr. Kuhn added that around 70 percent of people would need to be vaccinated before herd immunity can be achieved, and life can get back to normal.

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Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 611039

Reported Deaths: 9716
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion844351336
Lake45508685
Allen32891552
Hamilton29546315
St. Joseph27449381
Elkhart24440345
Vanderburgh19513250
Tippecanoe18043140
Johnson15140295
Porter14865169
Hendricks14440248
Madison11009222
Vigo10769181
Clark10731144
Monroe9424113
Delaware9152134
LaPorte9103164
Howard8268144
Kosciusko808983
Warrick676599
Hancock6741104
Bartholomew6523100
Floyd6469110
Wayne6157162
Grant6011116
Dubois556980
Boone554668
Morgan545795
Henry509764
Marshall505384
Cass485264
Dearborn483245
Noble474059
Jackson426747
Shelby419581
Lawrence392980
Clinton374243
Gibson372559
Harrison350945
DeKalb348264
Montgomery346554
Knox335839
Miami323044
Steuben314545
Whitley309726
Wabash304551
Adams302136
Ripley300046
Putnam297850
Huntington293159
Jasper290534
White274143
Daviess271274
Jefferson264738
Decatur248983
Fayette247848
Greene241162
Posey240328
Wells236451
LaGrange229662
Scott225739
Clay223532
Randolph214948
Jennings199336
Sullivan192933
Spencer192422
Washington187523
Fountain184627
Starke175643
Jay168223
Owen166837
Fulton164230
Orange160835
Carroll159115
Rush155818
Perry155229
Vermillion149334
Franklin149033
Tipton133033
Parke13088
Pike118226
Blackford111422
Pulaski97337
Newton91721
Brown88235
Benton86910
Crawford8069
Martin74413
Warren6857
Switzerland6665
Union6287
Ohio4957
Unassigned0376

COVID-19 Important links and resources

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