ROCHESTER, Minn. - Mayo Clinic continues to keep us all informed on the latest information when it comes to COVID19 variants, mutations, and even booster shots.
On Thursday the health giant hosted a media briefing to address the latest COVID concerns.
Infectious disease specialist Dr. John O’Horo says he’s receiving many questions focused on what’s happening with other COVID-19 variants.
At the moment the delta variant remains the dominant strain.
Dr. O’Horo says the delta variant hasn’t mutated significantly from the original virus so vaccines are still effective to neutralize effects to prevent hospitalization and prevent severe infections.
The concern may come if new variants, such as the latest new strain dubbed Mu, drifts further from the original virus.
Dr. O’Horo said, “As we look at the Mu variant the concern and the question that's still unanswered is how much have these drifted and what's the practical impact on immunity and risk of severe infection?”
He also stressed the new variants are something to keep an eye on for the future and not a current concern.
The CDC says the Mu variant accounts for only about 0.1% of cases in the US compared to delta being 99% dominant.
The topic of booster shots was also addressed during the media briefing. The shots are meant to enhance immunity in the face of waning efficacy in some groups.
The FDA and CDC say right now booster shots are only available to immune-compromised individuals where risk for infection or breakthrough infection is higher.
Mayo Clinic says it will be waiting to hear from the FDA and CDC to make a recommendation on who else should be getting boosters and when they should get them.
Dr. O’Horo explained, “The data for that that's available to me isn't really enough to say what the optimal strategy will be. Those groups have access to a lot more information and are weighing a lot more studies to try and answer that and consider what strategy will be the most appropriate to get the immunity where it will have the best impact for the most people.”
He did say there’s evidence there will be a roll-out for booster shots but the when, where, and who for the general public is still being discussed.
Mayo Clinic says the vaccine is still highly effective against COVID and dominant strains which allows time to conduct research and have discussions about the best way to distribute booster shots.