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COVID Vaccine Didn't Cause New Strain

Tracy Davenport Tracy Davenport
13th January 2021
COVID Vaccine Didn't Cause New Strain
Changes in viruses are neither new nor unexpected (Getty Images).

The Claim

The COVID-19 vaccine caused the new COVID-19 strain.

Emerging story

Some on social media are claiming that the newly developed COVID-19 vaccine caused the new strain of the virus. 

Misbar’s Analysis

According to Misbar’s investigation, the claims on social media seem to be referring to the fact that the U.K. was the first to administer the COVID-19 vaccine; then soon after, they reported a new strain of the coronavirus. However, the timing of the new vaccine compared to the discovery of the strain of the new virus is opposite of what many believe. The first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine was administered in the U.K. on December 8, 2020 according to BBC.com. The new variant of the COVID-19 virus was discovered in September according to virological.com. The new mutation of the virus is sometimes referred to as B.1.1.7 lineage. The two earliest sampled genomes that belong to the B.1.1.7 lineage were collected on September 20, 2020 in Kent and another on September 21, 2020 from Greater London. 

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, changes in viruses — including the coronavirus causing the COVID-19 pandemic — are neither new nor unexpected. Robert Bollinger, M.D., M.P.H. explained it this way: “All viruses mutate over time, some more than others. For example, flu viruses change often, which is why doctors recommend that you get a flu shot every year. We have already seen multiple variants of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that are different from the version we first saw in China.” 

One theory of why COVID-19 may have mutated so quickly has to do with patients who are immune-compromised. According to the American Association of the Advancement of Science, the new strain, which appears to spread faster than others, may have originated in an immunocompromised patient who carried the virus for a long time, giving it a chance to mutate. This theory came from a physician who helped treat a patient, who died 101 days after his COVID-19 diagnosis. When the doctor studied genome sequences from the coronavirus that infected the patient, he discovered that SARS-CoV-2 had acquired several mutations that might have allowed it to elude the antibodies given to the patient.

Other variants of the virus have now been found in other countries according to the World Health Organization

Misbar’s Classification


Misbar’s Sources

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