The new strain of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which leads to COVID19, has been found in the Southeast of England a couple of days after the country has started vaccination with the Pfizer vaccine. This new variant is called VUI-202012/01. This is the first variant of the virus, which is being investigated in December 2020. The UK government has decided to shut down the majority of businesses to prevent the spread of the virus’s new variant, which is said to be highly infectious. Nearly 1108 cases of the same strain of the virus have been reported particularly in the South and East of England. The Public Health England (PHE) has been working round the clock along with its associates to examine and share their findings over the next 15 days. Experts have found no evidence, which can confirm that the new variant might affect the severity of the disease, antibody response, or efficiency of the vaccine. Scientists have said that it is uncertain that the new strain of the virus is responsible for rising cases of COVID19.
The variant has a mutation in the ‘spike’ protein. Experts have said that changes in this part of the spike protein might make the virus more deadly and contagious. The UK’s Chief Medical Officer, Chris Whitty has said that recent swab tests have been able to find the new variant of the virus. The PHE Joint Advisor, Susan Hopkins has said that the new variant is being investigated across many places where experts have reported an increased rate of infection. Susan Hopkins has said that the government has been informed about the same after scientists have found the full significance of the new strain. The country has shared its findings on the new variant of the virus with the World Health Organization (WHO) as well. As per the report, during the first week of December in London, nearly 62 percent of cases have been there due to the new strain. Three weeks earlier, there have been only 28 percent of cases of the new variant, said the experts. The UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged people to cancel their holiday plans and stay inside the home only, which might prevent the further spread of the new strain of the virus. Around 16.4 million people have been put under the strictest ‘ tier four’ measures recently.
Experts have said that the new variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus might be 70 percent more contagious as compared to the original strain. The new strain is said to be equally lethal as other variants of the virus. It has key mutations in the virus’s receptor domain ‘Spike’ protein. As per the health experts, cases linked to the new strain have been found in almost all regions of the UK but they are in small numbers. However, the distressing economic effect is going to be massive if measures to contain the virus fail, which might lead to strict lockdown across the nation. Australia reported at least two confirmed cases of the new variant of the virus. South Africa as well has identified a number of cases linked to the new strain of the virus, which is called 501.V2. The officials from the South African government have said that the strain, which they have found is quite different from the new variant, which is transmitting in England. The number of patients with COVID19 is slowly going up in South Africa.