CNN's Brianna Keilar on Friday interviewed Dr. Anthony Fauci about the new B.1.1.529 variant of COVID-19 which has been found in South Africa, Botswana, and Hong Kong.
"A new variant of coronavirus has been discovered in South Africa and this is raising concerns," Keilar noted. "Scientists there are warning it could show immune invasion and enhanced transmissibility."
"This is obviously a very significant day as we try to look at what the risk factors are with this variant," she said. "What can you tell us about this?"
"Well, certainly there is a new variant that is now in South Africa, in the Gauteng province, that has some mutations that are raising some concern, particularly with regard to possibly transmissibility increase and possibly evasion of immune response," Fauci replied.
"We don't know that for sure right now. This is really something that's in motion and we just arranged right now a discussion between our scientists and the South African scientists a little bit later this morning to really get the facts, because you are hearing a lot of things back and forth, we want to find out scientist to scientist exactly what is going on," he continued.
"But it is something that emerged in South Africa and seems to be spreading at a reasonably rapid rate in the sense of when they test positivity, they are seeing it is a bit more widespread in South Africa than was originally felt. So it is a fluid motion. it is something in realtime we are learning more and more about," Fauci said.
He also said there is "no indication" the the variant has already reached U.S. shores, but noted "anything is possible."