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US looking ‘very carefully’ at new virus variant

US authorities are looking “very carefully” into the virus variant spreading in the United Kingdom, top health officials say, while indicating that a ban on UK travel is not currently in the cards.

Moncef Slaoui, chief advisor to the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed vaccine program, tells CNN’s “State of the Union” that US officials “don’t know yet” if the variant is present in the country.

“We are, of course… looking very carefully into this,” including at the National Institutes of Health and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, he says.

Dr. Moncef Slaoui, chief adviser to Operation Warp Speed, speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House, November 13, 2020, in Washington. (AP/Evan Vucci)

At the moment, he says, no strain of the virus appears to be resistant to the vaccines available.

“This particular variant in the UK, I think, is very unlikely to have escaped the vaccine immunity,” Slaoui says.

— AFP

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