The new variant of SARS-CoV-2, which is thought to originate in the United Kingdom, is growing rapidly and affects a higher proportion of people under the age of 20, according to a study. A collaborative team of researchers from Imperial College London, the University of Edinburgh, Public Health England, Wellcome Sanger Institute, the University of Birmingham and the Covid-19 Genomics UK Consortium evaluated the relationship between transmission and frequency of the new variant over a period of time.
“There is a consensus among all analyzes that VOC (the worrying variant or the new variant) has a substantial transmission advantage,” the study said.
According to the study, the reproduction number for the new variant is currently between 1.4 and 1.8. He stated that the estimated difference between the number of reproduction of the mutation is 0.4 – 0.7 higher compared to other variants of the virus. Reproduction numbers reflect the number of people who are expected to be infected by a single individual in a homogeneous population.
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The study also found that people under the age of 20 represent a higher proportion of cases of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) infected with the new variant. However, researchers said it is too early to determine the mechanism behind this change. They suggested that it may be partly because the blockade was in place in some places, but schools were open.
“These analyzes, which have informed the British government’s planning in recent weeks, show that the new variant of concern, B.1.1.7, has a substantially higher transmissibility than previous SARS-CoV-2 viruses circulating in the UK,” he said. Professor Neil Ferguson of Imperial College London said in a statement.
Dr. Erik Volz, a co-author of the study, said that very rarely a virus will change in a way that requires us to re-evaluate public health policy. Volz added that there is overwhelming evidence of a change in the transmissibility of the new variant, which should be taken into account when planning the Covid-19 response in the new year.