The United Kingdom, home to 67.8 million people, is the fifth country greatly affected by the coronavirus pandemic that started in 2020. The number of confirmed cases in the UK reached the 4 million mark after the virus discovery year. Flights are immediately suspended, and strict health protocols took effect. London fit to fly COVID tests were issues to urgent travelers if not rescheduled.
However, in the midyear of 2020, medical and health experts race to create a vaccine that would contain the coronavirus.
The New COVID-19 Strains
Fast forward to 2021, just as pharmaceutical companies mass-produced the vaccines to be administered to people, newer versions of the SARS-CoV-2 that caused COVID-19 were reported. Three new strains of COVID-19 in three different countries were reported and were closely monitored.
The B.1.1.7 strain found in the UK, the B.1.531 that emerged in South Africa, and the P.1 variant from Brazil are mutations that easily enter through a host’s receptor clipping themselves to human cells to dominate their newfound environment.
Are they More Contagious?
The UK’s epidemiological data showed that the B.1.1.7 variant had heightened transmissibility than the other two strains. This news made quick rounds in the international scene that increased people’s demands with Saudi Arabia visa to take PCR tests in London before taking their flights to go out of the country.
As the named versions of the virus are under observation in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention laboratory, experts say that these variants appear more dangerous but are less deadly. Experts only worry about its transmissibility as it is faster than the earlier versions of the virus. On the other hand, the infection experienced by symptomatic patients does not seem worse, but researchers say there is not enough proof so far that these strains cause milder or more severe disease in patients.
Take a look at this infographic to know more about the COVID-19 mutation.