Boris Johnson, the country's prime minister, has been forced to decree a severe lockdown in areas where the mutation is spreading rapidly.
Matt Hancock, Secretary of Health, announced on December 14 that they had detected a "new variant" of the coronavirus. At that time, the country's health authorities estimated that this strain could have infected about 1,000 people. But now, the situation has become complicated. This Saturday, Boris Johnson, the prime minister of the United Kingdom, has been forced to decree severe confinement in those areas where the mutation is spreading rapidly.
The pathogen's transmission speed has been a critical factor in raising these areas of the country to alert level 4 as of December 20.
"The spread is being driven by the new variant of the virus," Johnson said in an urgent press conference. "It appears to spread more easily and may be up to 70% more transmissible than the earlier strain."
There are many questions about this strain:
Why do mutations appear?
When a virus enters the body, the immune system develops antibodies that try to make it harder for it to cause disease. For this reason, pathogens are modified to try to fool the antibodies and infect the body.
Is it the first mutation?
No, mutations are quite common. The number of new coronavirus strains is unknown as experts have warned of different strains in recent times. For example, 62 variations were detected in the first months of the pandemic in Spain, while researchers from the University of Bologna found at least six strains.
Where was it Discovered?
It was found about ten days ago in the county of Kent, in the country's southeast. Shortly after, the British health authorities publicly reported its existence.
How Dangerous is the New Coronavirus Strain?
Boris Johnson has revealed this Saturday that scientists calculate that it is 70% more transmissible than the original.
Does it cause more serious problems?
The new strain does not appear to cause major complications. María Van Kherkhove, technical manager for the management of COVID-19 at the World Health Organization (WHO), stressed that "so far there is no evidence that the new strain of the virus behaves differently from those already they knew."
Will it affect vaccination?
According to experts managing the pandemic in the UK, it is "highly unlikely" that vaccines in development or those already being administered will lose their effectiveness.
The new variant has 17 mutations
Fernando González, professor of Genetics at the University of Valencia, told Cuatro his concern about the large number of mutations that this strain has: "The variants we have detected and with which we have worked normally have 2 or 3 mutations, this It suddenly has 17. That is outrageous, and that is what draws the attention of scientists powerfully in the first place. It is a variant that, for the moment, what calls us is to monitor it closely."
Likewise, González stated that "it is not differentially affecting sectors of the population or segments of the population that have not been affected, nor does it appear that there has been an increase in mortality associated with this infection, this variant. Therefore In that sense, it is like other viruses, but it must also be taken into account that the effects can be noticed when a sufficient amount of data is analyzed ".
UK coronavirus stats
The number of coronavirus UK cases and coronavirus deaths has exceeded 2,000,000 and 67,000, respectively as the global number of coronavirus infections reach almost 70 million