New variants of COVID-19

A variant of SARS-COV-2 is a version of the virus that has undergone some genetic changes (mutations) and this is a cause for concern. Some mutations may change the characteristics of the virus and how it interacts with humans. There is currently no evidence to suggest that the Pfizer/BioNTech or Astra/Oxford vaccine would not protect people against the new strain but further laboratory work is currently being undertaken as a priority to understand this.