Do multiple strains of COVID impact the ability to make an effective vaccine?

MADISON, Wis. — Doctors now know about two strains of the coronavirus. What they call the “S-strain” originated in China. An “L-Strain” mutated in Europe. Dr. Nasia Safdar at UW Health says the “L-strain” is more aggressive.

“It made it more efficient in terms of being able to transmit easily from person to person compared to the other strain, but the symptoms seem to be less severe, potentially,” Safdar said.

The coronavirus has the ability to replicate and mutate quickly.

“It’s evolutionary so the virus will have a response to when it’s circulating in people depending on what it finds when it reaches it host,” Safdar said. “So if there are antibodies in the host, for instance, to a particular strain of virus, that will put a pressure on the virus to evolve so that it avoids those antibodies so that it can still infect the human.”

News 3 Now asked Safdar if multiple strains impact the ability to come up with a vaccine that can cover them all. Safdar said not at this point.

“You can’t predict or preempt every mutation that a virus will have but I think it’s useful to have learned over the last six months, is it mutating to the point where we think that a single developed vaccine will not be effective, and that does not seem to be the case.”

Scientists and researchers are still working to come up with a vaccine.