Covid-19: New coronavirus variant is identified in UK
Driving infections in the south east
What do we know?
Variant Under Investigation
Defined by a set of 17 mutations
Most significant is an N501Y mutation
How was the variant detected?
Public health agencies, Wellcome Sanger Institute, 12 academic institutions
Random genetic sequencing of positive samples around the UK
Set up in April 2020, sequenced 140,000 virus genomes
Uses the data to track outbreaks, identify variant viruses, publish old weekly report
How common is it?
As of 13 December
1,108, 60 different local authorities
Sunday, 20th 60% of new cases in London
South east of England, Scotland
Seeded every part of Wales
Netherlands, Italy, Austria, Belgium flight ban, Eurostar to Belgium
France and Germany expected soon
First spotted in late September
Now 20% of viruses sequenced in Norfolk
No data to suggest it’s imported
Does this variant spread more quickly?
Initially it was a correlation
Up to 70% more infectious
Raising R value by 0.4
Is the new variant more dangerous?
Will the vaccine still work?
May have an effect on neutralising antibodies