New Covid-19 variant is more contagious: Study

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on December 25, 2020

Researchers are yet to figure out whether the strain is more severe than the previous strains

A new study carried by researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) suggests that the new variant of the coronavirus that is considered to be a super-spreader has 56 per cent more transmissibility than any other strain.

The study stated that the virus is more contagious and could result in a higher rate of Covid-19 hospitalization.

However, the researchers are yet to figure out whether the strain is more severe than the previous strains.

The study noted: "We estimate that VOC 202012/01 is 56 per cent more transmissible than pre-existing variants of SARS-CoV-2. We were unable to find clear evidence that VOC 202012/01 results in a greater or lesser severity of disease than pre-existing variants."

The report added that the surge in transmissibility is likely to trigger a large increase in incidence, with Covid-19 hospitalization and deaths projected to reach higher levels in 2021 than were observed in 2020.

The new report further supported the suspension of public activities and schools amidst the new strain circulating across England.

The report speculated that easing of restrictions even to a low degree could cause a large resurgence of the virus.

" It may be necessary to greatly accelerate vaccine roll-out to have an appreciable impact in suppressing the resulting disease burden," the report added.

Last week, the UK's chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance had maintained that the new variant has demonstrated around two dozen mutations that may affect proteins made by the coronavirus. He further noted that the mutated variant is as much as 70 per cent more transmissible than other circulating strains.

The research was published in the ‘Centre for the Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Diseases’.


Published on December 25, 2020

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