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Health official rules out indication of new coronavirus variant in US

WASHINGTON, Nov 26 (KUNA) -- Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to President said Friday, "there's no indication" that the coronavirus variant B.1.1.529 is in the United States right now.
"US scientists are working closely with colleagues in South Africa to learn more about the emerging variant," Dr. Fauci, also director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN's Brianna Keilar.
The virus seems to be spreading "in a reasonably rapid rate," Fauci said, noting that the variant so far has been detected in South Africa, Botswana, in a traveler to Hong Kong from South Africa -- and Belgium became the first European country to confirm a case.
US scientists are in "very active communication" with South African scientists to learn more about the molecular makeup of the variant so that researchers can test for the variant in the United States. "Right now, we're getting the material together with our South African colleagues to get a situation where you could actually directly test it. So, right now you're talking about sort of like a red flag that this might be an issue -- but we don't know," Fauci said.
"Once you test it, you'll know for sure whether or not it does or does not evade the antibodies that we make -- for example against the virus, through a vaccine.
"The answer is we don't know right now, but we're going to find out for sure," he added. (end) asj.gb