U.K. Covid-19 Variant Is Spreading Faster, Could Impact Immunity

Date: 2020-12-24 01:30:40

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The emergence in the U.K. of a mutant variant of the coronavirus has prompted strict lockdown measures across England and led neighboring countries to put up trade and travel restrictions to protect against its spread.

There is little hard data to prove that the new variant is transmitted more easily. The rapid rise in the number of cases in southeastern England may simply be because the virus was at the right place at the right time, just as was the case with a variant — so-called D614G — that was subsequently shown not to have better transmission but still became the dominant version of the virus in the U.S. and Europe.

Also, one of the mutations related to this new variant has previously been shown to actually reduce transmission. So it’s just too early to know whether the spread is just luck or the result of a biological property of the virus. Without more information, though, it’s best to take these added precautions.

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