NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Multiple mutations of COVID-19 are popping up around the world. One from the United Kingdom is now circulating in the United States — including Texas. Others are from South Africa, Brazil, and epidemiologists are investigating a strain in California as well.

“I think when we start to really get a little bit more concerned is when you see a variant that starts to sort of take over,” said Dr. Diana Cervantes, an epidemiologist at University of North Texas Health Science Center. For now, he says the variants we know about are identifiable in testing.

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While some experts warn these new variants could make daily tasks like going to the grocery store more risky because they may spread more easily, Dr. Cervantes said prevention methods will work on all the variants.

As for the vaccines, she said right now they still appear to be effective against these new strains.

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“It’s not like an on off switch like yes the vaccine works, and no it does it,” she explained. “Maybe it might make it a little less effective, but still we’re still talking about the vaccine still offers a great amount of protection against infection.

Should we get to a point where a vaccine isn’t as effective on a specific variant, Dr. Cervantes said the good news is that researchers won’t have to start from scratch. She said really it’s a matter of making changes to the vaccines we already have.

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