Research Finds Covid’s UK Strain More Deadly, Contagious
The United Kingdom (UK) variant of the coronavirus disease-2019 was found to be more contagious and deadly than the other strains, research has found.
A report by Al Jazeera quoting research published in the British Medical Journal on Wednesday said that the UK strain was found to be 30 to 100 percent more deadly than the other variants.
This came following a study of death rates among people infected with the said variant also known as B117, as compared with those who contracted other strains.
Scientists were quoted that the new strain had “significantly higher” mortality.
In the study, it was found that the UK variant claimed a higher number of lives—227 patients out of 54,906 infected—as compared with the 141 deaths who contracted the other strains.
“Coupled with its ability to spread rapidly, this makes B.1.1.7 a threat that should be taken seriously,” said Robert Challen, a researcher at the Exeter University who co-led the study.
The B117 variant was first found in Kent county in September 2020 and has since become the dominant strain in the UK.
It spread to other countries rapidly, with over 100 countries claiming to have reported cases of the UK variant.
The UK variant alone has 23 mutations in its genetic code—a relatively high number of changes—and some of such mutations were able to spread much quicker by 40 to 70 percent than the China variant.
On January 4, the UK variant sent the number of cases and deaths surging, prompting the government to enforce a new national lockdown—the country’s third since the pandemic began.
As of press time, the UK has seen 4.3 million COVID-19 cases, of which 125,000 were recorded deaths—so far one of the worst death tolls.
However, the UK has secured its doses of vaccine and has since begun its mass inoculation drive.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was confident that vaccines manufactured by AstraZeneca ad Oxford, as well as Pfizer and BioNTech, were effective in protecting against death and serious illnesses.
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