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Aggressive coronavirus sequencing needed to determine if New York variant causes reinfections, former FDA commissioner says

One of the concerns about a coronavirus variant first identified in New York City is that it shares a mutation with another variant first identified in South Africa, former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told CBS News’ Margaret Brennan on Sunday. The latter variant, Gottlieb said, “we know in certain cases” has caused reinfections in people who had previously recovered from bouts of COVID-19, so it’s possible the New York variant can do the same.

The United States, though, has struggled to sequence coronavirus cases throughout the pandemic, so it remains unclear whether the New York variant is responsible for a rise in the positivity rate in some neighborhoods in the city. Beyond that, it’s even less clear if it’s causing reinfections or leading to cases in New York’s vaccinated population. “We need to step in much more aggressively and start sequencing cases,” Gottlieb said.

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