Former FDA Head: New Variant ‘Could Be More Contagious,’ But Unlikely To ‘Change Overall Trajectory’

Former FDA Head: New Variant ‘Could Be More Contagious,’ But Unlikely To ‘Change Overall Trajectory’

On Sunday, former FDA commissioner and Pfizer board member Dr. Scott Gottlieb appeared on CBS’ “Face the Nation” with host Margaret Brennan to discuss the latest on the new COVID-19 variant, as well as vaccination efforts.

“So, we’re headed into respiratory virus season. Is this new version, this new Delta variant, something that has you concerned? What is the direction we’re headed in?” Brennan asked.

Gottlieb replied by noting that he doesn’t believe the latest strain of the coronavirus, known by some as “Delta Plus,” will “really change the trajectory” in which the county is moving despite it possibly being “more contagious.”

“I don’t think this is enough to really change the trajectory, the direction we’re heading in. We’re much closer to the end of this Delta wave than we are to the beginning,” Gottlieb said.

After discussing how the virus is affecting different parts of the country, the former FDA commissioner talked about the United States’ ability to figure out the nuances of the new strain:

This new variant, we think it could be more contagious. I don’t think it’s enough to change the overall trajectory. My lament is that we’re not better at figuring out these questions. I mean, we should have an answer to the question of just what the characteristics of this new variant are and what kind of risk it poses…

We don’t really have a coordinated system globally. We parcel this out to certain academic groups where we’re dependent upon certain academic researchers to do this kind of analysis. The U.K. is very good at identifying these new variants. They have better sequencing in place than we do, but we don’t have good follow up in terms of the epidemiological work to try to figure out whether or not these new variants are spreading more aggressively. This one, if it is more contagious, it appears to be perhaps slightly more contagious, again, the vaccine should be protective, and certainly people who are infected with Delta will be protected, probably against this new variant.

Gottlieb added that he thinks the vaccines may eventually be formulated with Delta specifically in mind “because what we’re seeing is the new mutations are occurring within that Delta lineage.”

As for the new variant, CNBC details: “U.K. government health officials have said it’s too early to tell whether the mutation poses a greater risk to public health than the delta variant, which itself is significantly more infectious than the original Covid-19 strain (and its successor, the alpha variant).”

Partial transcript below:

BRENNAN: We’re joined now by former FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb, who also serves on the board of Pfizer. Good to have you with us in studio.

GOTTLIEB: Good to be here.

BRENNAN: So, we’re headed into respiratory virus season. Is this new version, this new Delta variant, something that has you concerned? What is the direction we’re headed in?

GOTTLIEB: Yeah look, I don’t think this is enough to really change the trajectory, the direction we’re heading in. We’re much closer to the end of this Delta wave than we are to the beginning. The South looks very good right now; in the Midwest, where there’s been a very dense epidemic, we see cases starting to decline. There’s a pickup in cases in the Great Lakes region in parts of New England, so that’s concerning. This Delta wave still has to course its way through parts of the country. But I think as we get to Thanksgiving and maybe shortly thereafter, we’re going to be on a downswing across the whole country. You’re seeing cases come down all across the country. This new variant, we think it could be more contagious. I don’t think it’s enough to change the overall trajectory. My lament is that we’re not better at figuring out these questions. I mean, we should have an answer to the question of just what the characteristics of this new variant are and what kind of risk it poses.

BRENNAN: That’s something you’ve been saying throughout this pandemic, and it sounds like you’re saying we haven’t gotten any better.

GOTTLIEB: We don’t really have a coordinated system globally. We parcel this out to certain academic groups where we’re dependent upon certain academic researchers to do this kind of analysis. The U.K. is very good at identifying these new variants. They have better sequencing in place than we do, but we don’t have good follow up in terms of the epidemiological work to try to figure out whether or not these new variants are spreading more aggressively. This one, if it is more contagious, it appears to be perhaps slightly more contagious, again, the vaccine should be protective, and certainly people who are infected with Delta will be protected, probably against this new variant. So, I don’t think this is going to be a new variant that sweeps across the globe, and we’re back at square one here. I think that this is something that’s going to probably push us in the direction of eventually reformulating our vaccines for a Delta backbone vaccine, because what we’re seeing is the new mutations are occurring within that Delta lineage.

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Originally Posted on: https://www.dailywire.com/news/former-fda-head-new-variant-could-be-more-contagious-but-unlikely-to-change-overall-trajectory
[By: Frank Camp

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