UPDATE 1-Fauci says coronavirus infections might be plateauing

(Adds Fauci quotes, background) (.)

WASHINGTON, Jan 21 (Reuters) - Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease expert, said on Thursday that based on recent seven-day averages, coronavirus infections may be about to hit a plateau in the United States.

At a White House news briefing, Fauci also said coronavirus vaccines can be modified to account for new variants of the virus, and that while the South Africa variant is concerning, it does not appear to be in the United States.

COVID-19 has spiraled out of control for months, with the U.S. death toll having exceeded 400,000.

Fauci said he expects current vaccines will be effective against the recently discovered virus mutations.

"Bottom line: we're paying very close attention to it for our alternative plans if we have to ever modify the vaccine," he said. "But right now, from the reports we have ... it appears that the vaccines will still be effective against them." (Reporting By Jeff Mason and Steve Holland; Editing by Leslie Adler and Bill Berkrot)

01/21/2021 21:44

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