UK says new coronavirus strain is more infectious, but vaccines should still work

LONDON (Reuters) - A new strain of coronavirus identified in the United Kingdom is up to 70% more infectious but it is not thought to be more deadly and vaccines should still be effective, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and scientists said on Saturday. Johnson and England's Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said the variant strain had been discovered through Public Health England’s genomic surveillance and it was now confirmed that it spread more easily that the original version. 'There's no evidence that it causes more severe illness or higher mortality, but it does appear to be passed on significantly more easily,' Johnson told a news conference to announce tougher lockdown restrictions for millions of people

Reuters December 20, 2020 00:11:04 IST
UK says new coronavirus strain is more infectious, but vaccines should still work

coronavirus strain is more infectious, but vaccines should still work" src="https://images.firstpost.com/wp-content/uploads/reuters/12-2020/20/2020-12-19T131948Z_1_LYNXMPEGBI09T_RTROPTP_2_HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS-BRITAIN-BRIEFING.jpg" alt="UK says new coronavirus strain is more infectious but vaccines should still work" width="300" height="225" />

LONDON (Reuters) - A new strain of coronavirus identified in the United Kingdom is up to 70% more infectious but it is not thought to be more deadly and vaccines should still be effective, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and scientists said on Saturday.

Johnson and England's Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said the variant strain had been discovered through Public Health England’s genomic surveillance and it was now confirmed that it spread more easily that the original version.

"There's no evidence that it causes more severe illness or higher mortality, but it does appear to be passed on significantly more easily," Johnson told a news conference to announce tougher lockdown restrictions for millions of people.

"Although there's considerable uncertainty, it may be up to 70% more transmissible than the old variant, the original version of the disease. This is early data and it's subject to review.

"But it's the best that we have at the moment and we have to act on information as we have it, because this is now spreading very fast."

Cases in Britain have soared in the last two weeks, and were rising fast, data showed.

Britain's Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance said COVID-19 vaccines appeared to be adequate in generating an immune response to the variant of the coronavirus .

"We think it (the variant) may be in other countries as well," Vallance told reporters. "It may have started here, we don't know for sure."

Vallance said in parts of England, including London, the south east and east of England, the new variant was becoming the dominant form.

"This virus has taken off," he said of the mutation. "It's moving fast and it's leading inevitably to a sharp increase in hospital admissions."

"There is no evidence it causes a more severe disease, causes more hospitalisation, causes more trouble than the other virus, it basically looks similar."

(Reporting by Michael Holden, Kate Holton and William Schomberg; Editing by Frances Kerry)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

Target holiday sales jump 17% as shoppers splurge online
Business

Target holiday sales jump 17% as shoppers splurge online

By Uday Sampath Kumar (Reuters) - Target Corp reported a 17.2% rise in comparable sales for the holiday season on Wednesday as its online sales more than doubled, thanks to faster deliveries and higher demand for home goods, electronics and beauty products.

S&P 500, Nasdaq tick higher on Intel boost
Business

S&P 500, Nasdaq tick higher on Intel boost

By Medha Singh and Devik Jain (Reuters) - The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq rose in choppy trading on Wednesday as Intel shares jumped thanks to a change in management while broader sentiment was muted after a recent run to record highs. Intel said it would replace Chief Executive Officer Bob Swan with VMware Inc CEO Pat Gelsinger next month

Bolivia signs contract with India's Serum Institute for 5 million AstraZeneca vaccine doses
Business

Bolivia signs contract with India's Serum Institute for 5 million AstraZeneca vaccine doses

By Danny Ramos LA PAZ (Reuters) - The Bolivian government said on Wednesday it had signed a contract with India's Serum Institute for the supply of 5 million doses of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine. President Luis Arce said that combined with a recent deal to buy 5.2 million Sputnik V vaccine doses from Russia, Bolivia now expected to be able to inoculate all of its vaccinable population. Both vaccines require two doses to be given, meaning they would be used to inoculate a total of 5.1 million people from Bolivia's 11.51 million-strong population.