Science

UK Covid-19 variant ‘to sweep the world, in all probability’, says scientist

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on February 12, 2021 Published on February 12, 2021

People enter a closed down Debenhams store that is being used as a vaccination centre to receive the Covid-19 vaccine in Folkestone, Ken, Britain, on January 28, 2021.   -  Reuters

According to the head of the United Kingdom's genetic surveillance program, the coronavirus mutated variant that emerged in Britain can sweep the entire world.

Sharon Peacock, director of the Covid-19 Genomics UK consortium, said that the vaccines developed to protect people from coronavirus may not be as efficacious against the mutations.

She stated that the variant currently dominating the UK was likely "to sweep the world, in all probability."

"What's concerning about this is that the 1.1.7. variant that we have had circulating for some weeks and months is beginning to mutate again and get new mutations which could affect the way that we handle the virus in terms of immunity and effectiveness of vaccines," Peacock told the BBC.

 

She added: "It's concerning that the 1.1.7., which is more transmissible, which has swept the country, is now mutating to have this new mutation that could threaten vaccination."

"One has to be a realist that this particular mutation has arisen in our kind of communal garden lineage now, at least five times - five separate times. And so this is going to keep popping up," Peacock said.

Peacock further speculated that the UK variant is perhaps more contagious, but it is not deadlier than other mutations or wild-type virus.

Peacock believes that once “we get on top of (the virus) or it mutates itself out of being virulent - causing disease - then we can stop worrying about it.”

However, she also predicts that the world will be doing this for years in the future. “We're still going to be doing this ten years down the line, in my view," she noted.

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Published on February 12, 2021
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