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What to know about the New Covid-19 Variant

Category: World

Date: 2020-12-26T16:27:39+0000
What to know about the New Covid-19 Variant

Shafaq News/ A new variant of the pandemic SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus is spreading rapidly in Britain and prompting high levels of concern among its European neighbors, some of which have cut transport links.

The UK strain, is not the first new variant of the pandemic virus to emerge, but is said to be up to 70% more transmissible than the previously dominant strain in the United Kingdom.

While it was first seen in Britain in September, by the week of Dec. 9 in London, 62% of COVID-19 cases were due to the new variant. That compared to 28% of cases three weeks earlier.

"Most COVID-19 cases from whom this variant has been identified have occurred in people under 60 years of age," the World Health Organization said Tuesday.

It can lead to the same broad symptoms as the original strain, including high temperature, persistent dry cough and a loss or change in taste and smell.

Besides these three most common symptoms of COVID-19 other symptoms have been associated with the new strain of coronavirus, Fatigue, Loss of appetite, Headache, Diarrhea, Mental confusion and Muscle pains.

Scientists said the new variant has rapidly become the dominant strain in cases of COVID-19 and has been linked to an increase in hospitalization rates.

Scientists also say there’s no evidence that vaccines currently being deployed in the UK - made by Pfizer and BioNTech - or other COVID-19 shots in development will not protect against this variant.

The variant has also been detected in Denmark, the Netherlands and Australia, Singapore, Lebanon and Italy according to the World Health Organization.

 In South Africa, a different coronavirus variant has been reported, the WHO's technical lead for Covid-19, Maria van Kerkhove, said Monday.

The main worry is that the variant is significantly more transmissible than the original strain. It has 23 mutations in its genetic code - a relatively high number of changes - and some of these are affecting its ability to spread.

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