Wednesday, 17 Jul 2024

New ultra-mutated Covid variant is ‘real deal’ and it may have arrived in UK

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    The new highly-mutated mystery Covid strain has already hit the UK, experts believe.

    The Daily Star revealed yesterday that, according to expert Christina Pagel, who is a member of the Independent Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, the strain was first spotted in Israel and Denmark.

    As yet unnamed, it is thought that it has many new mutations, making the virus “fitter” and more capable of escaping the immune system.

    READ MORE: New mystery Covid strain sees experts call to plunge Britain back into 'restrictions'

    It also has “entirely new abilities”, and had been designated the code, variant BA.X – although that now appears to have changed to BA.6.

    Shay Fleishon, a former advisor to the Central Virology Laboratory at Sheba Medical Centre called it the "real deal, and Infectious disease specialist Professor Paul Hunter, from the University of East Anglia, has now claimed that the new strain could already be in the UK, after a sharp rise in cases has been seen in the last few weeks.

    Speaking to Mail Online, he said: “If it isn't now, then it probably very soon will be."

    And Professor Lawrence Young, a virologist at Warwick University concurred.

    He said: “Past experience indicates if a new variant is identified that has the ability to compete with other variants and spread more effectively, it inevitably appears in the UK.

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    “International travel and mixing in airports and on holiday makes it difficult to prevent the introduction of new variants.”

    The new strain, which has left scientists baffled, due to its ability to mutate on a regular basis.

    It is not know how lethal the strain is, with no deaths from it reported as yet.

    However, Christina Pagel wrote, in the British Medical Journal: “There are two major concerns.

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    “The first seems, unfortunately, quite plausible – a repeat of last winter’s unprecedented NHS crisis of Covid, flu, and respiratory syncytial virus hit all around the same time, especially with 50-65 year olds now not being offered either the flu or Covid vaccine this autumn.

    “The second is less likely but would have a bigger impact – another Omicron-like event where a new variant emerges, very different from previous strains so that our hard won protection is much less protective.

    “Given few, if any, mitigations worldwide and much lower surveillance, such a variant could spread a long way before we realised it was a problem.”

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    • NHS
    • Coronavirus
    • Covid vaccine

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