In this Jan. 15 file photo, COVID-19 mass-vaccination of healthcare workers takes place at Dodger Stadium, in Los Angeles. Mutations to the virus are rapidly popping up and the longer it takes to vaccinate people, the more likely it is that a variant that can elude current tests, treatments and vaccines could emerge.

by Naba’a Muhammad and Charlene Muhammad

Mutations of the Covid-19 virus are causing plenty of worry inside of America, not only because of fear the “variants” could cause more infections and death, but also because of fears mutations could nullify experimental vaccines largely touted as the answer to the pandemic.

Officials in South Africa were working to figure out next steps after the AstraZeneca vaccine did not prove effective against the Covid-19 strain that had emerged in the country. “South Africa is considering giving a Covid-19 vaccine that is still in the testing phase to health workers, after suspending the rollout of another shot that preliminary data indicated may be only minimally effective against the mutated form of the virus dominating the country,” the Associated Press reported.

“The country was scrambling Monday (Feb. 8) to come up with a new vaccination strategy after it halted use of the AstraZeneca vaccine—which is cheaper and easier to handle than some others and which many had hoped would be crucial to combatting the pandemic in developing countries,” said the AP report out of Johannesburg.


“The abrupt change in strategy was prompted by preliminary results in a small study that showed the AstraZeneca vaccine was only minimally effective against mild to moderate cases of the disease caused by the variant. There is reason to hope the Johnson & Johnson vaccine may fare better in the country. Initial results from an international test of the vaccine showed it is 57% effective in South Africa at preventing moderate to severe Covid-19.”

The problem is global but especially troublesome for the United States, the world leader in coronavirus infections and deaths.

“Despite its world-class medical system and its vaunted Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. fell behind in the race to detect dangerous coronavirus mutations. And it’s only now beginning to catch up,” reported the Associated Press.

“The problem has not been a shortage of technology or expertise. Rather, scientists say, it’s an absence of national leadership and coordination, plus a lack of funding and supplies for overburdened laboratories trying to juggle diagnostic testing with the hunt for genetic changes.”

“Viruses mutate constantly. To stay ahead of the threat, scientists analyze samples, watching closely for mutations that might make the coronavirus more infectious or more deadly,” said the Associated Press Feb. 4.

“But such testing has been scattershot. Less than one percent of positive specimens in the U.S. are being sequenced to determine whether they have worrisome mutations. Other countries do better—Britain sequences about 10 percent—meaning they can more quickly see threats coming at them. That gives them greater opportunity to slow or stop the problem, whether through more targeted contact tracing, possible adjustments to the vaccine, or public warnings.

“CDC officials say variants have not driven recent surges in overall U.S. cases. But experts worry that what’s happening with variants is not clear and say the nation should have been more aggressive about sequencing earlier in the epidemic that has now killed over 450,000 Americans,” said the wire service.

“U.S. scientists have detected more than 500 cases of a variant first identified in Britain and expect it to become the cause of most of this country’s new infections in a matter of weeks. Another troubling variant tied to Brazil and a third discovered in South Africa were detected last week in the U.S. and also are expected to spread.”

“The British variant is more contagious and is believed to be more deadly than the original, while the South Africa one may render the vaccines somewhat less effective. The ultimate fear is that a variant resistant to existing vaccines and treatments could eventually emerge,” the Associated Press noted.

“Potentially worrisome versions may form inside the U.S., too. ‘This virus is mutating, and it doesn’t care of it’s in Idaho or South Africa,’ ” said one researcher.

The White House coronavirus response coordinator told AP the U.S. was “43rd in the world in genomic sequencing. Totally unacceptable.”

As of Jan. 31, according to Dr. Rochelle Walensky of the Centers for Disease Control, the Covid-19 mutation first detected in the UK had been found in 32 states. The South African mutation had been found in Maryland and South Carolina, she added.

Dr. William Haseltine, PhD., a contributor to Forbes magazine, wrote: “Unfortunately, as more variants arise, the chances that the in-distribution vaccines cover every variant dwindles.”

“Ample data is available to suggest that B.1.351 (South African variant) is up to ten-fold immune-resistant to several vaccines, and could likely reinfect those previously infected. As P.1 (Brazil) carries many of the same mutations, there is a strong chance it is as well,” he continued in a Feb. 3 online article.

Covid-19 vaccines will likely need to be adapted annually, as with the flu, he predicted.

The South African strain is concerning because the protection against moderate disease was 57 percent, admitted Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in a White House briefing.

Dr. Fauci and drug makers Pfizer and Moderna have admitted the experimental vaccines currently in distribution only reduce severe symptoms, and do not stop transmission or prevent Covid-19 infection.

On Feb. 4, Johnson & Johnson asked U.S. regulators to approve the first single-dose Covid-19 vaccine, saying preliminary findings show it was safe and offered strong protection against moderate to severe Covid-19.

“America, you won’t solve it. The scientists of the world, you won’t solve it. I want to tell you what will solve it. You ready? This virus is a pestilence from heaven so scholarship from hell can’t deal with a pestilence that came from heaven,” warned Minister Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam last year. His warning, “The Criterion,” was delivered July 4 live from Michigan.

“I want to tell you right up front; you will not conquer this virus because it didn’t come from Wuhan. It did not come from Fort Detrick in Maryland because if you had made it, you would know how to handle what you made,” said Min. Farrakhan.

“But you don’t know this virus. It’s new. It’s different. It mutates and goes in different directions with a different strain of itself,” he said.

Covid-19 is a divine plague and to escape it, world political and religious leaders need to repent, and in particular, end their oppression and slaughter of Blacks in America and abandon global depopulation schemes, said Min. Farrakhan.

According to Dr. Walensky of the CDC, since a U.S. peak Jan. 8 in Covid-19 cases, new hospital admissions and the pace of deaths appeared to be slowing. She stressed continued mask wearing, social distancing, avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated areas to avoid the virus.

But Dr. Haseltine predicted another large wave of infections, hospitalizations, and deaths, if the variants grow out of control. He said the U.S. must reinforce and tighten infection control measures, despite an apparent waning in infection rates.

Meanwhile in Illinois, the Kane County Health Department refused a pregnant and breastfeeding woman’s request for the vaccine saying it does not provide it to pregnant or lactating women, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Spokeswoman Susan Stack cited the lack of data on breastfeeding or pregnancy for the Moderna vaccine, which the department is providing, the Tribune reported.

On the international scene, Sweden and France joined Germany announcing Feb. 2 the reported rejection of Oxford AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine for adults over 65.

Days later Denmark and Norway followed suit.

On Feb. 4, “Denmark’s health authority said there is a lack of evidence to support the AstraZeneca jab’s efficacy for over-65s but will still recommend it to younger people who are not at risk of serious illness from the virus. Meanwhile a Norwegian health official said: ‘It’s not because the vaccine doesn’t work on those who are older, but because its documented effect is so limited for this age group,” said the Daily Mail.

Meanwhile, the UK-based Daily Press reported state and federal agencies are investigating a Gloucester woman’s death that happened a couple of hours after she received a coronavirus vaccination.

“Drene Keyes, 58, died after getting a first dose of the Pfizer-Biontech vaccine … in the town of Warsaw. Keyes waited 15 minutes after the shot to be observed by health care providers on site, but soon after experienced vomiting and trouble breathing. She was taken to VCU Tappahannock Hospital, where she died,” read the report.