UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson had announced that the latest strain (named B.1.1.7) could be 70 per cent more communicable than the previous variants and would spread much quicker. The infectious strain of the virus was first identified in the southeast of England in September. Since then, it has been the most prevalent variant in England, accounting for more than 50% of new cases diagnosed in the United Kingdom between October and 13 December, according to the World Health Organisation.
Following a thorough study of the current variant, scientists have identified 23 mutations, eight of which are in the spike protein used by the virus to bind and invade human cells, Science Magazine reported.
One mutation called ‘N501Y’ has altered the most critical portion of the spike, known as the ‘receptor-binding domain,’ which makes the first contact with the surface of the cells of our body. Changes in this segment are evidently making the virus more contagious and quickly distributed through people, according to researchers.
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The New Coronavirus Strain Variant Is More Deadly?
The Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology in India on Tuesday also warned the UK variant may be 71 per cent more transmittable than the other variants. The Hyderabad-based research institute suggested an extensive genome surveillance of the virus to assess the extent of the spread of the new virus.
Experts are not sure if it is more deadly than the previous strains, but they know it spreads even more quickly. This means that it will lead to more people being hospitalised. If hospitals are busy, the quality of health care can be diminished, which can lead to higher mortality rates.
Earlier coronavirus strains find it difficult to infect children than adults, one reason is that children have less doors called the ACE2 receptor that the virus uses to penetrate human body cells.
Professor Wendy Barclay, of Nervtag and Imperial College London, said the mutations in the virus seemed to make it easier to break through those walls.
According to her words, “Therefore, children are as susceptible, perhaps, to this virus as adults, and therefore, given their mixing patterns, you would expect more children to be infected.”
What Additional Precaution One Should Take To Avoid The New Strain?
Although the current strain is claimed to be more contagious, it spreads in the same manner as the ordinary type of coronavirus. This means the same precaution you have been following to prevent the spread of the virus since March will also work for the new U.K. variant. So, continue wearing a face mask, following hand and personal hygiene, maintaining physical distancing, avoiding unnecessary outings, etc. to avoid getting infection from the any variant of coronavirus. Also, any Covid-19 symptom should be reported to authorities concerned.
People were afraid that the new Covid-19 vaccines will succeed against the latest variants. Many researchers and government officials have ensured that vaccines in the pipeline in India and around the globe can shield people from SARS-CoV-2 mutations found in the UK and South Africa.
So don’t panic about New Coronavirus Strain Variant and Maintaining a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, engaging in regular physical activity, and not smoking are some of the most important ways to help keep your immune system healthy and reduce your chances of infection and disease. As always with preventing the spread of illness, wash your hands frequently.
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