Mayo Clinic Q&A

From complex or serious conditions like cancer and heart disease to the latest news on research and wellness, host Dr. Halena Gazelka asks the questions and gets easy-to-understand answers from Mayo Clinic experts

Episodes COVID-19 virus, variants and vaccines update

an elderly man, perhaps Asian, wearing a mask and sitting in a wheelchair near a window with a health care worker, a female nurse perhaps Asian or Latina, wearing COVID-19 PPE

COVID-19 virus, variants and vaccines update
Feb. 3, 2021

When it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Gregory Poland, an infectious diseases expert and head of Mayo Clinic's Vaccine Research Group, says there's some good news. "Case numbers are falling, masking and distancing do work, and we can control this if we do it right." 

However, the not so good news is that variants are showing up in over 30 countries and are reportedly more transmissible. There also seems to be a reduction in vaccine efficacy against the new variants. 

"This is a desperate race between vaccine and virus, between time and opportunity, and we dare not lose that opportunity," emphasizes Dr. Poland. 

In this Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Poland discusses how COVID-19 viruses mutate into new variants. He also discusses recent COVID-19 research conducted by the NFL, plus he touches on the future of individualized vaccines. "I can see the development of a coronavirus vaccine against multiple types of coronavirus, including the one that causes the common cold, and very likely combine that with the influenza vaccine."