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A mutant strain of coronavirus that is spreading in the UK is on average 56 percent more contagious than the original version, scientists warned in a study calling for the vaccine to be launched quickly to prevent more deaths.
The new variant, which hit the market in south east England in November and is spreading rapidly, is likely to lead to hospitalizations and deaths from COVID for the next year, according to a study published Wednesday by the Center for Mathematical Modeling of Infectious Diseases at the London School of Hygiene Tropical medicine.
Researchers focusing on the English southeast, east and London said it was still uncertain whether the mutant strain was more or less lethal than its predecessor.
“Still, the increase in portability is likely to result in a sharp rise in incidence, as COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths are expected to hit higher levels in 2021 than in 2020, even if regional level restrictions introduced before December 19 are maintained . ” ” They said.
The authors warned that a national lockdown imposed in England in November is unlikely to prevent an increase in infections “unless elementary schools, secondary schools and universities are also closed”.
A relaxation of control measures would likely lead to a “major virus resurgence”.
This meant that “it may be necessary to significantly accelerate the introduction of vaccines in order to have a tangible impact on suppressing the resulting disease burden”.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced stricter lockdown measures on Saturday, saying the new strain of the virus is “up to 70 percent more transmissible than the original version of the disease”.
The discovery of the new strain caused alarm bells around the world as more countries launched vaccination campaigns to stop a pandemic that has killed more than 1.7 million people since it hit China a year ago.
Many countries were quick to bans travel from the UK, but EU governments have since started easing restrictions.
The co-founder of BioNTech – one of the companies behind the vaccine, which launches globally this week – said his drug is “highly likely” to work against the mutant strain discovered in the UK, otherwise it can be adjusted in six weeks.
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© 2020 AFP
Quote: Virus Strain Leads to More Deaths in the UK: Study (2020, December 24), accessed December 25, 2020 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-12-virus-strain-deaths-britain.html
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