The potential of the new Covid-19 variant first identified in the United Kingdom to cause more damage than the original one according tp “some evidence”, said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
“We’ve been informed today that in addition to spreading more quickly, it also now appears that there is some evidence that the new variant — the variant that was first discovered in London and the southeast (of England) — may be associated with a higher degree of mortality,” Johnson told a news conference.
However there is also evidence that clearly suggests that the Covid-19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca-Oxford University – the two vaccines that are currently being implemented in eth country UK, are still effective against both the old and new variants of the virus, Johnson added.
The evidence on the new strain is still being reviewed and assessed by the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group which advises the UK government since the evidence is still at a preliminary stage.
The new variant is known as B.1.1.7 and is prone to undergo much more mutations at unusually high rate. This variant has also been found to be gave more transmission capability. The variant was first discovered by scientists in September. Since then, more than 44 countries have detected the variant including in the United States with the country reporting the variant in 12 of its states.
The modeled trajectory of infections and the spread of the new variant in the United States “exhibits rapid growth in early 2021, becoming the predominant variant in March”, warned the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week.
Those people who have been infected by the new variant of the virus face an increased risk compared to those who get infected with the original one, said Patrick Vallance, the U.K.’s chief scientific advisor, while he was standing alongside Johnson.
“If you took … a man in their 60s, the average risk is that for 1,000 people who got infected, roughly 10 would be expected to unfortunately die with the virus. With the new variant, for 1,000 people infected roughly 13 or 14 people might be expected to die,” Vallance said.
While qualifying the data of not being strong enough yet, he also highlighted a greater concern about the other variants of the virus that have been detected in Brazil and South Africa.
With Vovid-19 infections urging significantly just before Christmas due to the new variant, the UK currently has been forced to implement its third full lockdown. There were 1,401 deaths reported in the UK on Friday and according to data from Johns Hopkins University, the country has the highest coronavirus mortality rate in Europe with 96,166 deaths.
(Adapted from CNBC.com)