Just as the world was about to breathe a sigh of relief that vaccines may soon bring an end to the pandemic, there is news of a possibly more contagious version of SARS-CoV-2 – the virus that causes COVID-19 – spreading in the U.K. Fear of this new strain has led France, Canada and dozens of other countries to close their borders to travelers from Britain.

Should we worry? And will the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines still be effective?

David Kennedy, an evolutionary microbiologist at Penn State University, answers these and other questions about this variant of the COVID-19 virus.

Also today:

Bijal Trivedi

Science and Technology Editor

The French government will not accept any passengers arriving from the U.K. amid fears over the new mutant coronavirus strain. Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images

Why it matters that the coronavirus is changing – and what this means for vaccine effectiveness

David Kennedy, Penn State

A new strain of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 appears to be spreading fast in the the UK. What does this mean for vaccine developers and vaccinations?

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