While Covid-19 continues to be an ongoing threat around the world, the UK is dealing with a dangerous second wave of the infection. The country, in the last few weeks, has seen a rapid surge in their cases and also has been put under strict lockdown restrictions. However, the end of the year just got a little more chaotic for the UK as a new mutant has been discovered. The country believes there are still too many unknowns when it comes to this ‘mutated’ version of coronavirus. The new variant, code-named as B.1.1.7, has been widely tracked in recent cases in the UK.
It is important to remember that viruses mutate all the time. While this variant is spreading quickly, it is not any more dangerous than the coronavirus, and top scientists have said that it is not something to worry about.
Soumya Swaminathan, the Chief Scientist of the WHO has said that what is alarming about this variant and what may be causing the panic is the fact that it has a large number of mutations - over 20. Viruses will continue to mutate and this variant of the coronavirus has been recognised over the last several weeks and that mutations like this are expected to continue. But what must be noted is the fact that researchers continue to lay emphasis on and study the impact of these mutants.
“Scientists from the UK are working very closely with the WHO and with the network that we have, called the ‘virus evolution working group’”, said Swaminathan, in an interview with Bloomberg.
“The take-home message for right now is that we need to get more information,” said Krutika Kuppalli, an infectious-diseases specialist at the Medical University of South Carolina. “In the meantime, we all need to really double down on our public health measures — wearing masks, remaining physically distanced, avoiding crowds of people.”