New coronavirus variant does not cause illness more severe than others, study says

WION Web Team
London, London, UK (Great Britain) Published: Dec 30, 2020, 10:04 AM(IST)

The novel coronavirus Photograph:( Reuters )

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Scientists say the new variant -- found in England in mid December and led to other countries imposing travel restrictions to the United Kingdom -- can spread more rapidly. Several other countries have also reported variants.

A new variant of the novel coronavirus does not appear to cause more severe illness than other variants, according to a matched study by Public Health England.

Scientists say the new variant -- found in England in mid December and led to other countries imposing travel restrictions to the United Kingdom -- can spread more rapidly. Several other countries have also reported variants.

Under the study, researchers compared 1,769 people infected with the new variant with 1,769 who had what they described as "wild-type" virus. The two groups were matched 1:1 on the basis of age, sex, area of residence and time of testing.

Of the 42 people who were admitted to hospital, 16 were infected with the new variant while 26 cases had wild type infection, according to the study. In terms of fatality, there were 12 deaths in variant cases compared to 10 deaths in wild-type cases.

Results from the cohort study found no statistically significant difference in hospitalisation and 28-day case fatality between cases with the variant and wild-type comparator cases.

There was no significant difference in the likelihood of reinfection with the new variant as compared with the other variants, the study said.

The study, however, added that the "secondary attack rate", or the proportion of contacts of confirmed cases that develop disease themselves, was higher in people infected with the new variant.

Britain reported 53,135 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, the highest number since mass testing started in mid-2020.

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