British scientists have found a mutation in the Coronavirus in the United Kingdom. They realized this after the spike in Coronavirus cases was linked to a key mutation in the strain.
“The new mutation that the scientists have named as “VUI – 202012/01” includes a mutation in the viral genome region encoding the spike protein, which – in theory – could result in COVID-19 spreading more easily between people”By Kate Kelland from the Reuters article, “New coronavirus strain spreading in UK has key mutations, scientists say“
As of December 13 2020, Coronavirus cases with the new variant has been identified predominantly in the south and east of England. It is too early to figure out whether this new variant can cause more fatal outcomes or make the vaccine less effective.
A similar virus version has appeared in South Africa, sharing one of the mutations found in the British variant, according to scientists who discovered it. In up to 90 percent of the samples whose genetic sequences have been studied in South Africa since mid-November, the virus has been detected.
A major concern is that the virus might grow and become immune to the vaccines that are only rolling out right now. The issues are based on a couple of modifications in the viral genetic code that could make it less susceptible to such antibodies. However some scientists advised caution, saying it would take years for the virus to develop enough to make the existing vaccines impotent, not months.
U.K. Health Secretary Matt Hancock suggested that parts of England will have to undergo the new, highest tier of restrictions until a vaccine can be distributed.
According to the Bloomberg article, “U.K.’s Hancock Says New Covid Mutation Is ‘Out of Control’” more than 16 million Britons have been required to shelter in place after the lockdown has been enforced on Sunday. The measures to control the rapidly spreading new strain of the virus ban household mixing in certain regions and limit socializing in the rest of England to only Christmas Day. Residents around the nation were ordered to remain in their local neighborhoods, and more police were stationed at train stations to deter people from commuting from London.