The 21st Show

New Coronavirus Variants, Vaccines, and the Future of COVID-19


It’s been almost one year since the first known person in the U.S. died of COVID-19. And as the virus that causes COVID-19 has spread around the world, it’s also mutated.

Researchers are concerned about the ways the virus is changing: Some of the mutations discovered in recent months are causing the virus to spread more easily, and could potentially make it more deadly.

To help us answer questions about what we know about these new variants and what we still have to learn, The 21st was joined by two experts.

"It's not as though they just hopped on to the scene ... there's more genomic surveillance so we're able to observe this mutation," says University of Chicago Ecology & Evolution professor Sarah Cobey on why we are seeing more variants of COVID-19 now. "In some ways I'd say this isn't too surprising, [the virus] is still adapting to us."


Sarah Cobey, Associate Professor, Ecology & Evolution, University of Chicago

Chris Brooke, Assistant Professor of Microbiology, University of Illinois


Prepared for web by Zainab Qureshi

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