United Kingdom variant of Covid-19 has mutated again: Scientists

United Kingdom variant of Covid-19 has mutated again: Scientists

"Of particular the emergence of the E484K mutation (found in the South African variant), which so far has only been seen in a relatively small number of individuals", Ravi Gupta, a professor at Cambridge University's Institute of Therapeutic Immunology & Infectious Disease and co-lead of the study, said.

Distributors working in a pair together go door-to-door giving out home testing kits for Covid-19 from Britain's Department of Health, in Woking, England.

This comes after the more transmissible South African variant is spreading in parts of the UK.

"Additional surge testing and sequencing are being deployed in a number of locations where the COVID-19 variant first identified in South Africa has been found".

There is a possibility that this change may reduce vaccine efficacy, but the current ones in use should be still able to prevent it, said the scientists. "It's a bit more virulent, as we know, than some of the other variants, but the symptoms are the same". It's these cases that have sparked serious concern.

"Whether this change will provide significant growth advantages for the novel virus causing it to predominate remains to be seen". But scientists are closely tracking mutations in the virus that causes COVID-19 to make sure they quickly identify variants of concern.

He said that, while it is sensible to try to stamp out chains of transmission of variants, new strains will continue to be a risk and suggested borders can not stay shut forever.

According to Dr Julian Tang, a virologist at the University of Leicester, this "worrying development" may be due to recombination with one of the South African or Brazilian variant viruses that may have co-infected the same cell.

Spain has detected its second known case of infection with the South African coronavirus variant in the northeastern region of Catalonia, officials said on Wednesday, a day after the government chose to restrict air travel with Brazil and South Africa.

Two cases of the South Africa coronavirus variant have been detected in Birmingham.

Researchers in South Africa believe this strain to be more contagious, around 50 per cent more when compared to the ones that were identified earlier.

Andrew Hayward, professor of infectious disease epidemiology at University College London and a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), has also warned of the "100%" probability of more strains entering the United Kingdom unless borders are shut completely.

"You can think about completely shutting the borders or having quarantine, (but) what's the end game in that?"

"Is that something that you're going to do forever, because it looks like these strains may continue to arise in the long term?"