Six people have been affected by the UK variant of the coronavirus in Alabama. Alfonzia Jackson, a Birmingham man, died from the variant in early February.
Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Ali Hassoun said people shouldn't worry as long as they continue safety measures, like washing your hands, wearing a mask and social distancing.
He said the UK variant may be easily transmittable, but that doesn't mean people are at a larger risk of being sick with the variant.
"It’s the same exact virus but like any other virus, with time, it evolves and mutates," said Dr. Hassoun. "In a way it's changing its shape or it’s covering."
Dr. Hassoun said it's important to not identify the UK variant as a new strain.
"If there were a new strain, that means it’d have a different way of entering the cell," Dr. Hassoun said. "It may not respond to treatment and vaccination."
Based off of research we have now, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine work against the UK variant.
Dr. Hassoun said there is a way to get the virus under control, especially as the state continues to vaccinate people.
"If we get more people vaccinated, then less virus will be in the community," said Dr. Hassoun. "Less virus in the community means it's less likely for mutation and change."
Dr. Hassoun said the South African strain of the coronavirus is not of concern here in Alabama. There has been one case of 501b2 found in South Carolina.