The United Kingdom is aggressively scrambling to contain the spread of more mutations of the coronavirus with more worrying variants discovered in South Africa.
According to CNBC News, the U.K. had to “come down hard” on the South African variant after 105 cases have emerged in the country, and 11 of those cases had no links to international travel.
According to CNBC News,
- “The South Africa variant had further worried experts that were concerned that coronavirus vaccines developed over the last year might not be so effective against it; there had also been worries that the South Africa variant could evade antibody drugs.
- “Vaccine makers have said there is little evidence to show that their shots will be ineffective against new variants, and say that they should be able to adapt their vaccines to new variants in a number of weeks, if necessary.
- “British pharmaceutical, GlaxoSmithKline and German biotech firm CureVac announced a 150 million euro ($180 million) deal to develop Covid vaccines that target several variants in one product.
- “The U.K.’s vaccination program continues to gather steam and is on track to have vaccinated its top four priority groups (the over-70s, residents and staff in elderly care homes, frontline health and social care workers and the clinically extremely vulnerable) numbering around 15 million people, by mid-February.”
What you should know
- U.K. launched an enhanced testing program for around 80,000 people living in areas where pockets of cases with the mutation have been found.
- To assess the spread of the South African variant, tests are being offered door-to-door and positive cases are properly isolated for proper analysis
- Persons living in high-risk areas have been told to consider limiting the time they spend outside their homes as health authorities scramble to prevent the spread of yet another more infectious variant.
- A dangerous variant of the mutation, now known as the “British mutation,” has already become the dominant strain in many parts of the country.
- Mutations of any virus have been noted to be normal but could mutate at all times. The concern of experts and policy makers are the mutations that could allow the virus to spread far more quickly.
- In the UK, as of Feb.1, over 9.6 million people had received a first dose of the vaccine, and just under 500,000 had received two doses