A new study released by a team of British scientists suggests that a variant of the coronavirus recently discovered in England is 56% more contagious than the original strain.
The study, released by the Center for Mathematical Modeling of Infectious Diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, noted that while the data suggest that the new variant is more contagious, there are no results to show that it is more deadly, The New The York Times reported.
Researchers warn that stricter measures must be taken due to the new variant, however, including the closure of universities and schools. They also advocated wider vaccination.
“It may be necessary to speed up the launch of the vaccine a lot,” they said, according to the Times.
Alessandro Vespignani, director of the Network Science Institute at Northeastern University in Boston, was not involved in the study, but agreed with the results.
“While we were all celebrating for the vaccine,” he told the newspaper, “here is the possibility of a change in the epidemiological context that makes our next months much more complex and dangerous to navigate.”
“Evidence is accumulating that the variant is more transmissible, and this implies that an even greater effort is likely to be needed to keep the spread under control,” he added.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced earlier this week that the new strain could already be present in the United States. He also said he was working to determine the transmission speed of the virus.