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Sunday, 24 January 2021

COVID-19 Variant Found In UK May Be More Deadly Than Others - Says PM, Boris Johnson

The new Covid-19 variant first found in the United Kingdom may be more lethal than previous strains, according to the UK's Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The new variant was first detected in southeast England and is believed to be between 30 to 70% more transmissible than the previous ones.

From Thursday 21- Friday 22 January, the UK recorded a further 1,401 coronavirus-related deaths according to government data -- up from Thursday's daily increase of 1,290 deaths.


"We've been informed that in addition to spreading more quickly... there is some evidence that the new variant... may be more associated with a higher degree of mortality," Johnson said at a news conference on Friday..

"Both the vaccines we're currently using remain effective both against the old variant and this new variant," he added.


The UK's chief scientific adviser, Patrick Vallance, added to Johnson's statement, saying patients who were hospitalized with the new variant did not appear to have a higher risk of dying compared to those hospitalized with the original form of the virus.

"However, when data are looked at in terms of... anyone who has tested positive there is evidence that there is an increased risk for those who have the new variant compared to the old [one.]"


Vallance added that the evidence was not yet strong and that research was still going on.

"If you took... a man in their 60s, the average risk is that for 1,000 people who got infected, roughly 10 would be expected to unfortunately die with the virus. With the new variant, for 1,000 people infected, roughly 13 or 14 people might be expected to die," he said Friday.

Vallance added: "That's the sort of change for that sort of age group, an increase from 10 to 13 or 14 out of 1,000 and you will see that across the different age groups as well, a similar sort of relative increase in the risk."

Vallance stated that there was "increasing evidence" that the existing Covid-19 vaccines would work against the UK strain but warned about the variants detected in Brazil and South Africa.

"We are more concerned that they have certain features which means they might be less susceptible to vaccines," he said, though he added that researchers needed "more clinical information" about the variants.

The  total number of cases recorded in the UK since the pandemic began to 3,583,907.


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