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Former Head Of FDA Raises Concerns About New York COVID Variant And Possible Re-Infection

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The former head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expressing concerns about a coronavirus variant first identified in New York City.

Very little clinical research has been done on the strain, known as B.1526.

Dr. Scott Gottlieb said he fears the current vaccines might not fully protect against the variant.

"What we don't understand with 1526 is whether or not people are being re-infected with it and whether or not people who might have been vaccinated are now getting infected with it," he said on Face the Nation. "One of the concerns about this particular variant is that it has that mutation that's also in the South African variant, in the 1351 variant, that we know in certain cases is causing people who have already had coronavirus to get re-infected with it."

WATCH: Mayor, Health Officials Discuss NYC COVID Variant 

Meanwhile, a variant first discovered in Brazil has been confirmed in a 90-year-old Brooklyn resident, who is now hospitalized.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and his health team were asked about the variants Monday.

"We're going to learn more literately every day, but at least we have seen some trends so far that tell us we can beat these variants if we continue to aggressively get people vaccinated," the mayor said "But we do have to take them seriously. They do pose a threat."

"We know that these variants that are here, present in New York City are more infectious -- that is, one person is more likely to infect another person. So that's a strong reason for why we continue to have very high rates of disease," Dr. Jay Varma added. "So we are concerned about them."

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