The new coronavirus strain found in the UK has come under the scrutiny of the US Army, whose researchers are studying the resistance of the mutated bug to vaccines.
Director of the Center for Infectious Diseases Research at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Dr. Nelson Michael, told CNN that the scientists are hopeful anti-coronavirus inoculations will be effective against the new variation, yet there is always a possibility that it may resist them.
"It stands to reason that this mutation isn't a threat, but you never know. We still have to be diligent and continue to look," Michael told the broadcaster.
If the findings are not encouraging, the centre will conduct additional lab research, including on animals, to establish more definitively whether vaccines will work.
The news of the coronavirus strain taking its toll in London and southeast England emerged last week and caused much concern to the UK government, which was forced to introduce Tier 4 restrictions in the affected areas on Saturday, essentially equalling a lockdown.
Since the announcement, several countries have said they would be shutting down air traffic with the United Kingdom.