British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will attend a virtual press conference on Covid-19 at 10 Downing Street in London on January 22nd. Leon Neal / Pool / AFP / Getty Images

The coronavirus variant first identified in Great Britain “may be associated with a higher degree of mortality” in infected patients, said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday during a press conference on Downing Street.

“I have to tell you this afternoon that we were informed today that not only is there a faster spread, but there is also evidence that the new variant – the variant that was first identified in London and the South East – can with be associated with higher mortality rates, ”Johnson said.

The researchers are still looking at the data and there is still great uncertainty.

Patrick Vallance, the UK government’s chief scientific adviser, said it looks like the variant is more lethal when looking at the general population that will be infected.

“If you take someone in their 60s – a man in their 60s – the average risk is that for every 1,000 people infected, unfortunately, about 10 will die with the virus. With the new variant for 1,000 people infected, it is expected that about 13 or 14 people are dying, “he said.

Vallance said the increase in risk would affect all age groups.

This evidence comes from several groups in the UK that have found an increased risk of death for people infected with the variant compared to people infected with other forms of the coronavirus. In four analyzes cited by a government advisory group, these estimates ranged from 1.3 to 1.9 times the risk of death. At least one analysis of hospital patients found none.

The advisory group known as NERVTAG concluded that there is a “realistic possibility” that a variant is associated with a higher risk of death. However, the researchers said the absolute risk of death for a person remains small and more data is needed to provide definitive evidence. For example, in some cases, the data came from less than 10% of all reported deaths.

Vallance stressed that “these numbers are very uncertain and we need more work to get a grip on them. However, it is obviously worrying that this is leading to an increase in mortality as well as an increase in portability, it seems from today. “

He found that patients who are hospitalized with Covid-19 are not at increased risk of mortality.

“If we look at data from hospitals, that is, patients who are in the hospital with the virus, the results look the same for those with the original virus or the new variant,” he said.

British Prime Minister Johnson said: “Both of the vaccines we are currently using remain effective against both the old and this new variant.”

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