February 16, 2021 - 15:39 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The highly infectious variant of the novel coronavirus that is predominant in the United Kingdom may be up to 70% more deadly than previous strains, according to a report by the government’s scientific advisers, Al Jazeera reports.
The findings from the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG), published on Friday on the government’s website, underscored concerns about how mutations may change the characteristics of SARS-CoV2 – the virus that causes Covid-19 – and alter the course of the pandemic.
NERVTAG’s report was based on a dozen studies that found the so-called Kent variant, named after the county where it was first identified, is likely 30 percent to 70 percent more deadly than other versions of the novel coronavirus in circulation.
Those studies compared hospitalisation and death rates among people infected with the B.1.1.7 variant and those infected with other strains.
The results of the group’s analysis are worrisome, said David Strain, a clinical senior lecturer at the University of Exeter Medical School and the clinical lead for COVID-19 at the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital.
“The higher transmissibility means that people who were previously at low risk of catching COVID (particularly younger fitter females) are now catching it and ending up in hospital,″ Strain said.
To date, the UK has recorded more than four million cases of COVID-19. The virus has killed more than 117,000 people nationwide, marking one of the world’s worst death tolls.