By Arno Meijnen
The highly contagious British variant of the coronavirus is up to 104 percent more deadly than other variants. This is according to a study published today in the British medical journal British Medical Journal.
In a study in question, scientists compare the death rates between people in the UK who were infected with the British SARS-CoV-2 variant (known as B.1.1.7) and people infected with other variants of the coronavirus. Conclusion of the scientists: the new variant has a “significantly higher” mortality rate.
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“Persons infected with the alarming variant (…) had between 32 and 104 percent (central estimate 64 percent) are more likely to die than equivalent persons who were infected with previously circulating variants ”, we read in the British report. The study thus confirms previous reports.
According to the study, infection with the new variant resulted in 227 deaths in a sample of 54,906 Covid-19 patients, compared to 141 deaths among the same number of patients infected with other variants.
In September last year, B.1.1.7 was first discovered in the United Kingdom. In the meantime, it has spread all over the world.
Also read: These symptoms indicate a more contagious British variant of coronavirus
“This, coupled with its ability to spread quickly, makes B.1.1.7 a threat that must be taken seriously,” said Robert Challen, a researcher at the University of Exeter who co-led the study for news agency. Reuters.
B.1.1.7 23 mutations in its genetic code. That is a relatively high number, say the scientists. Some of those mutations would have made the virus much more capable of spreading.
Scientists in the UK say B.1.1.7 is approx 40 to 70 percent more transferable than previously dominant circulating coronavirus variants. (wdm)