The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Monday that a more contagious and deadly strain of COVID-19 will become the “dominant” one in the U.S. by the end of March.
The B117 variant, which was first discovered in the U.K. at the tail end of 2020, has a higher transmissibility than the original strain, according to a CDC report.
As of March 14, the CDC’s tracker indicated there were 4,690 cases reported within 50 jurisdictions. (RELATED: Report: Scientists Say Children Could Be More Susceptible To Coronavirus Variant)
The strain accounts for 25% of all cases in Florida and California, but it is less widespread in other states, according to Dr. Walensky.
“Our current models still project, by the end of March, early April, B117 will be the dominant variant,” Walensky added, confirming a previous prediction by CDC, give or take a few weeks.
While it has been confirmed that the B117 strain is more contagious than the initial variant of COVID-19, studies show that the vaccines were believed to be capable to protect against it, albeit with a lower efficacy rate. (RELATED: Study Finds Pfizer Vaccine Protects Against Mutations From UK And South Africa With No Need For Additional Vaccine)
The B117 strain made up more than 80% of Israel’s COVID-19 cases, and the country’s vaccination campaign’s success speaks to the Pfizer vaccine’s effectiveness against the deadlier strain, ABC News reported.
The Novavax vaccine, which was 96% effective at its late-stage trial, is “90% effective overall” against the U.K. variant, according to CNBC.
Moderna announced Jan. 25 that its vaccine was effective against both of the newly emerged variants, such as the B117 and another from South Africa. Though, the efficacy rate was less for the South African version.