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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The highly contagious U.K. variant of COVID-19 has popped up on many college campuses, calling into question their plans to let more students back on campus this spring, The New York Times reports.

Why it matters: The U.K. variant is expected to become the dominant strain within the U.S. relatively soon, and colleges' experience with it could foreshadow what's next for society at large.

Students in colleges from all regions of the country — in Texas, Florida, Michigan, California and Louisiana — have come in contact with the B.1.1.7 variant, per the Times.

  • The University of Michigan identified a cluster positive tests for the variant in its athletic department, which contributed to more than 1,000 cases already this year.
  • Vanderbilt University said two students violated safety protocols, which snowballed into 100 students needing to quarantine. Tulane University also reprimanded student organizations for breaking social distancing rules.

Go deeper

Feb 9, 2021 - Health

J&J CEO: Annual COVID-19 vaccine shots may be necessary for a few years

Alex Gorsky. Photo: Lucas Jackson/Reuters/Bloomberg via Getty Images

People might need the coronavirus vaccine annually in years to come, much like the seasonal flu shot, Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky told CNBC on Tuesday.

What he's saying: "Unfortunately, as [the virus] spreads it can also mutate," Gorsky said at an event. "Every time it mutates, it’s almost like another click of the dial so to speak where we can see another variant, another mutation that can have an impact on its ability to fend of antibodies or to have a different kind of response not only to a therapeutic but also to a vaccine."

Feb 10, 2021 - Health

FDA grants emergency use authorization for Eli Lilly COVID antibody drug

Photo: Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The FDA announced Tuesday it has issued an emergency use authorization for a new combination antibody drug from Eli Lilly that can treat mild to moderate COVID-19.

Why it matters: The treatment contains bamlanivimab and etesevimab which, administered together, can reduce the risk of hospitalizations and death by 70%, per an FDA statement. It can be used on patients at high risk of developing severe illnesses.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Feb 9, 2021 - Podcasts

Teachers union president walks back vaccination requirement

Randi Weingarten, president of America's second-largest teachers union, told the Axios Re:Cap podcast that she "was wrong" to say in September she'd support requiring in-school teachers to take a COVID-19 vaccine once readily available.

What she's saying: Weingarten now says that while she thinks teachers should take the vaccine she believes too many people have been scared off by misinformation.