The new Covid-19 variant, 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 collaboration of scientists and researchers at Imperial College London, the University of Edinburgh, Public Health England, the Wellcome Sanger Institute, the 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 so far, according to CNN reports.
“All analyzes agree that the VOC [the Variant of Concern or new variant] has a significant transfer advantage, ”says the study. It was added that the difference between the reproductive numbers of the mutation compared to other variants of the virus is 0.4-0.7 higher. The reproduction number indicates the number of people to whom an infected person transmits the virus.
According to the study, the number of reproductions for the new variant is currently between 1.4 and 1.8.
“These analyzes, which have influenced the planning of the British government in the last few weeks, show that the new affected variant B.1.1.7 is much more transmissible than previous SARS-CoV-2 viruses circulating in Great Britain,” said Professor Neil Ferguson of Imperial College London said.
The study also said that while people under the age of 20 account for a greater proportion of cases of the new variant of the virus, it is too early to determine why.
Because the new variant is more easily transmissible, it will be more difficult to control, said Ferguson, who stressed the “urgency to get the vaccination as soon as possible”.
Dr. Erik Volz of Imperial College said that “all viruses evolve and very rarely a virus changes in a way that requires a re-evaluation of public health policies,” and that experts “have overwhelming evidence of a change in the transmittability of the virus have found “B.1.1.7 variant that should be taken into account when planning our Covid-19 response in the new year. ”
On Monday, the UK will launch the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine, which was approved for use on Wednesday.