The new Covid-19 variant that was first found in the UK is growing rapidly, is more transmissible than other variants, and affects a greater proportion of people under the age of 20, according to a study.
The research is a collaborative effort of scientists and researchers at Imperial College London, University of Edinburgh, Public Health England, Wellcome Sanger Institute, University of Birmingham and the COVID-19 Genomics UK Consortium.
As of December 30, at least 27 countries, Hong Kong and Taiwan have reported cases of the new strain, according to CNN reports.
“There is consensus among all analyzes that the VOCs are [the Variant of Concern or new variant] “It has a significant transmission advantage,” the study said. She added that the difference between the number of reproduction of the mutation, compared to other variants of the virus, is 0.4 to 0.7 higher. The reproduction number reflects the number of individuals to whom an infected person transmits the virus.
According to the study, the reproductive number of the new variant currently ranges between 1.4 and 1.8.
“These analyzes, which have informed UK government planning in recent weeks, show that the worrisome new variant, B.1.1.7, has a much higher transmissibility than previous SARS-CoV-2 viruses circulating in the UK,” Professor Neil Ferguson said Imperial College London.
The study also said that while people under the age of 20 make up a greater proportion of cases of the new type of virus, it is too early to determine the cause.
Ferguson said, since the new variant is more easily transmitted, it will be more difficult to control, and stressed “the need to introduce the vaccine as soon as possible.”
Dr. Eric Falls of Imperial College said, “All viruses evolve, and the virus rarely changes in a way that requires us to re-evaluate public health policy,” noting that experts have found “compelling evidence of a change in the transmissibility of the virus.” B.1.1.7 The variable to be taken into account when planning our response to Covid-19 in the new year. ”
On Monday, the UK will roll out the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine, which was Authorized for use on Wednesday.