New coronavirus variant up to 70% more transmissible

New coronavirus variant up to 70% more transmissible


Following are details of a new coronavirus variant that has been identified in the United Kingdom, given at a news conference on Saturday (Dec 19); by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Patrick Vallance, Britain’s chief scientific adviser, and Chris Whitty, the chief medical adviser.


– The new variant is thought to have first occurred in mid-September in London or Kent; in the south-east of England.


– British analysis suggests it may be up to 70 per cent more transmissible than the old variant; which could increase the reproduction “R” rate by 0.4.


– There is no evidence to suggest it is more lethal or causes more severe illness.


– There is no evidence suggesting vaccines will be any less effective against the new variant.


– The new variant contains 23 different changes, many of them associated with alterations in a protein made by the virus.



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Vallance said this was an unusually large number of changes.


– It has variants in areas of the virus that are known to be associated with how the virus binds to cells and enters cells.


– The variant has spread quickly in London, the south-east and east of England, becoming the dominant form of the virus in these areas.


– In London, 62 per cent of cases were due to the new variant in the week of Dec 9. That compared to 28 per cent three weeks earlier.


– In London, the overall infection rate doubled in the last week.


– In areas where the new variant was dominant, hospital admission rates were rising quickly and previously agreed social restrictions were no longer strong enough.


– Vallance said he thought the new variant may be in other countries as well but might have started in Britain.


– The UK submitted its findings to the World Health Organisation on Friday night.

About The Author

Osigweh Lilian Oluchi is a graduate of the University of Lagos where she obtained a B.A (Hons) in English, Masters in Public and International affairs (MPIA). Currently works with 1stnews as a Database Manager / Writer. [email protected]

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