What does it really mean when a new variant of COVID-19 is discovered?
Karen Kaul, MD, PhD, Chair of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at NorthShore University HealthSystem explains:
"There have been many variants and this is what viruses do – they mutate and evolve over time. This is no surprise to those in the medical community and we see this every year with the flu; that’s why we need a new flu vaccine every year because the virus is a little bit different as it is going through its evolution.
"The variant and new viral strain, L452R (California), is caused by a change in the DNA that affects the spike protein, which is the target of the vaccine. We do not know for sure if this is going to affect our immunity caused by the vaccination or not - we have to wait and see.
"If we continue best practices of social distancing, masking, and handwashing we’ll be protected."
Watch Dr. Kaul's full interview on WGN9 here.