A mutated strain of coronavirus that has spread in the UK appears to be more contagious and is likely to lead to higher levels of hospitalizations and deaths next year, new research has shown.
According to a study by the Center for Mathematical Modeling of Infectious Diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the variant is 56% more transmissible than other strains. There is no clear evidence that it results in a more or less serious disease.
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The UK government has previously said that the mutated variant appears to be as much as 70% more transmissible than other circulating strains. In addition, there are nearly two dozen mutations that can affect proteins created by the coronavirus, said Patrick Vallance, the UK’s chief scientific adviser, on 19 December.
This has raised concerns that tests, treatments and vaccines that have just begun to be introduced may be less effective, although the European health regulator has said the variant is probably not different enough from previous ones to avoid Pfizer Inc. firing. and BioNTech SE. Countries, including Australia, Denmark and Singapore, have also discovered the strain.
Measures like England’s national closure in November are unlikely to reduce the number of reproductions – new infections have been estimated from one case – to less than 1, unless schools and universities are also closed, the report said. He also said that the introduction of the vaccine may need to be accelerated to curb its spread, to a rate of 2 million people per week compared to the current rate of 200,000.