A new coronavirus variant discovered in the UK has prompted a new lockdown and travel bans.
But a World Health official says viruses mutate and change all the time, and there are processes in place "to really evaluate what these mutations are and what they mean."
Maria Van Kerkhove, the World Health Organization’s technical lead for Covid-19, told CNN’s Erica Hill Monday:
"So far, we don’t see any increase in disease severity, or clinical picture, but those studies are underway."
"We don’t anticipate any impact on the vaccine and on vaccination," she added. "And I think that’s really important as well, but the studies need to be done. We need to make sure we follow the science, and we will report, the UK and WHO will report information as soon as we learn it."
Van Kerkhove explained that the variant under investigation was detected through routine surveillance activities. There was increasing transmission in the southeast of England as it moved from Tier 2 to Tier 3 restrictions. It was retrospectively identified that some had the lineage back in September.
WHO was alerted of the variant on Dec. 14 and over the last week it has been working with scientists in the UK through their regional office in Europe and the European Centers for Disease Control to understand, Van Kerkhove said.