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Evidence of a new variant of Covid associated with higher mortality

The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Boris Johnson spoke during a media briefing on the coronavirus (COVID-19) on Downing Street on January 15, 2021 in London, England.

Dominic Lipinski Getty Images

LONDON – There is “some evidence” that the new variant of Covid, identified for the first time in the UK, may be more deadly than the original strain, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday.

“Today we were informed that in addition to spreading faster, there also now seems to be some evidence that the new option ̵

1; the option first discovered in London and the south-east (of England) – could be linked to a higher mortality rate, “Johnson told a news conference.

He added that all the evidence suggests that the vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca-Oxford University, currently in use in the UK, remain effective against both the old and the new variant of the virus.

The evidence is still in its infancy and is being assessed by the Advisory Group on New and Emerging Respiratory Viral Threats, which is advising the British government.

The variant, known as B.1.1.7., Has an unusually large number of mutations and is already associated with more efficient and faster transmission.

Scientists first discovered this mutation in September. Since then, the option of concern has been detected in at least 44 countries, including the United States, which has reported its presence in 12 countries.

Last week, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that the model trajectory of the US option “shows rapid growth in early 2021, becoming the predominant option in March.”

Speaking to Johnson on Friday, UK chief scientific adviser Patrick Valance said there was now early evidence that there was an increased risk for those who had the new version compared to the old virus.

“If you take … a man in his sixties, the average risk is that for every 1,000 infected people, about 10 are expected to die from the virus. With the new option for 1,000 people infected with approximately 13 or 14, people can be expected to die, “he added.

“Meredith from CNBC himself contributed to this article.”

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