Super-Contagious Mutated Covid-19 Strain Spreads to Wales and Scotland

Super-Contagious Mutated Covid-19 Strain Has Been Detected in Wales and Scotland.

The new variant of coronavirus, which has already infected hundreds across the south and southeast of the UK, has reached Scotland and Wales. Scientists have warned the new strain, called VUI – 202012/01, appears to be spreading faster than other forms of the virus and is cropping up in areas of the country where infection rates are rising the quickest. This may go someway to in explaining the surge in infections in the south-east of London, say officials.

It is understood that the UK has already informed the World Health Organisation of the new variant spreading across the country. Experts analysing the genetic code of the variant say it is believed to have actually originated in South East England and was not imported from abroad as first thought. However, it is sweeping the country quicker than the variant from Spain which was widespread during the first wave of the UK outbreak.

Network of experts

COG-UK is a network of experts analysing genetic code from 140,000 Covid-19 patients based at 16 sites around the UK. The network of experts said VUI – 202012/01 caused concern because it was appearing most in areas of the country where infection rates are rising quickest. They were also concerned because it displayed an alarming 17 changes to the original virus – many more than previous variants detected by their surveillance.

Prof Nick Loman, of the Institute of Microbiology and Infection at Birmingham University, said: “It is a quite a striking growth in that variant, much more than we would expect to see. We don’t have any evidence that this has come from another country. It does sort of seem to come out of nowhere.”

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Tony Winterburn

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