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Mayo Clinic is keeping track of COVID-19 variants as the virus continues to mutate

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(KTTC) -- According to a Mayo Doctor, as of right now, the delta variant continues to be the biggest concern among health experts, but another variant to watch out for is the lambda variant.

"The virus is mutating every day," said Mayo Clinic COVID-19 Task Force Director Dr. Andrew Badley.

According to Dr. Badley, the longer a virus replicates within a person or population, the more viral mutations we will see.

"It's an evolutionary battle between are these mutations creating a survival advantage for the virus or are they hurting the virus," stated Badley.

While viral mutations will continue to occur, Mayo Clinic says the vaccine protects against all known variants.

"What we know about the lambda variant is that we've seen it, we've identified it, we've sequenced it. We don't know much about its biological behavior now. In part that's good in that there's no signal yet that it's worse."

Dr. Badley also says it does not make any difference if an infected person knows what variant they have because treatment recommendations are the same across the board.

"The importance of it is from a public health perspective. And that's why most of the work is being done at the state health department and federal health department levels," Badley said.

Keeping track of COVID-19 variants helps experts to predict spread and future number of cases. There is currently no evidence that a variant may one day escape the vaccine, but Mayo Clinic, the state health department and the federal government continue to monitor the COVID-19 variants and to what degree the vaccines protect against them.

When it comes to vaccine boosters, Dr. Badley says they are a natural part of immunity as it wanes over time. Boosters have been a part of all vaccines in the past. He says he highly recommends boosters to everyone at the appropriate time when they become available.

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Carli Petrus

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