Covid’s’super variant’: According to a government adviser, we must be prepared for possible changes in restrictions.
Professor Adam Finn of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said it was “too hard to say at this point” if the variant, which has been dubbed the “worst ever” Covid strain, would affect Christmas plans.
As health officials and ministers scramble to prevent a “super variant” from entering the country, a government adviser said today that the public should be prepared for a possible change in Covid restrictions.
Professor Adam Finn, a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), said that more research is needed to assess the threat posed by a new strain of the virus, but that new measures cannot be ruled out.
“On the one hand, I don’t want to create unnecessary anxiety in people,” he said on Friday on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, “but on the other hand, I believe we all need to be prepared for the possibility of a change in the restrictions.”
It comes after six countries were added to the UK’s travel warning list in an effort to stop the spread of B1.1.529, the “worst one we’ve seen,” according to scientists.
A virologist at Imperial College London discovered the variant on Tuesday, and i reported it for the first time on Wednesday.
Experts believe that the virus, which is rapidly spreading in South Africa, could reduce vaccine effectiveness to as low as 30%.
In South Africa, there have been nearly 100 confirmed cases, but the country’s health minister believes there are many more because of a spike in cases in Gauteng province.
Israel, Botswana, and Hong Kong have all reported cases.
Although no cases have been found in the UK, hundreds of people who recently traveled from South Africa have been contacted and asked to take a PCR test.
Dr Susan Hopkins, the UK Health Security Agency’s chief medical adviser, described the new strain as the most “complex” and “worrying” strain yet.
“The first look shows it has a variety of different mutations,” she told the BBC. “It has 30 different mutations that seem relevant, which is double what we had in Delta.”
“And take a look at those mutations,” says the narrator.
UK news summary from Infosurhoy
Covid’s’super variant’: According to a government adviser, we must be prepared for any changes in restrictions.
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Covid ‘super variant’: We must be ready for possible change in restrictions, says Government adviser
‘Most worrying variant we’ve seen so far’
The chief medical adviser at the UK Health Security Agency Dr Susan Hopkins said the new variant is the most “complex” and “worrying” strain so far.
She told the BBC: “The first look at it shows it has a variety of different mutations, it’s got 30 different mutations that seem relevant, that’s double what we had in Delta.
“And if you look at those mutations as mutations that increase infectivity, mutations that evades the immune response, both from vaccines and natural immunity, mutations that cause increased transmissibility, it’s a highly complex mutation, there’s new ones we haven’t seen before, so we don’t know how they’re going to interact in common.
“So all of this makes it a pretty complex, challenging variant and I think we will need to learn a lot more about it before we can say for definite it’s definitely the most complex variant before.
“It is the most worrying we’ve seen,” she added.