WATCH: Dr. Jen Ashton talks about COVID-19 mutations, vaccines

ETN: Dr. Jen Ashton gives COVID-19 update

EAST TEXAS (KLTV/KTRE) - Dr. Jen Ashton, the chief medical correspondent for ABC News, spoke with ETN host Jeremy Butler about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the more contagious variation of the virus that has been discovered in the United Kingdom, and the roll-out of the various vaccines.

When Butler asked if the American public could expect changes in the existing COVID-19 protocols and rules because of recent mutations of the virus found in the United Kingdom, Ashton said, “We need to take a big-picture view of the variants. Viruses mutate for a living.”

Ashton explained that this version of the coronavirus has already mutated at least 23 times. She added that not every mutation or change makes the COVID-19 virus more dangerous or contagious; some are neutral, and some even weaken it.

ABC’s chief medical correspondent said that medical experts have discovered that the new mutation of the virus that has been found in the UK is 50 to 70 percent more transmissible, or contagious, than the other strains of the virus.

Because that mutation may have been around when work started on the vaccines, Ashton said it is too soon to tell whether the more contagious version of the COVID-19 virus will affect the effectiveness of the current vaccines.

To watch the full interview, click the video above.

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