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UK Covid-19 Variant Doesn’t Increase Severity of Infection Like Other Variants: Study

Published On Apr 13, 2021, Updated On Jul 15, 2021

According to a latest study, the UK variant of the novel coronavirus does not increase the severity of infection in comparison to other strains. The variant, referred to as B117, is currently the dominant viral Covid-19 strain across most parts of Europe. In previous studies, it was linked to a higher likelihood of death as compared to normal variants. However, two studies, published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases and The Lancet Public Health journals did not find any evidence of people with B117 experiencing worse symptoms or possessing a greater risk of developing long Covid as compared to people infected with different variants.

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It must be noted that the authors of the first study referred to data from 341 patients who tested positive for Covid-19 late in 2020, when B117 was running rampant across southeast England. They found that 58% of those patients had B117, while 42 percent were infected from non-B117 coronavirus. Out of 58% people infected from B117, 36% experienced severe illness or even died, in comparison to 38% of those infected with non-B117 coronavirus. Resultantly, it was suggested that there was no association between B117 coronavirus variant and enhanced risk of severe infection. 

The authors of the study also performed the analysis of the transmissibility by looking at data generated by PCR testing. It was found that the samples of the B117 variant tended to possess higher quantities of the virus than non-B117 swabs.

Experts not involved in the research were of the opinion that the finding that B117 infection is not linked with increased risk of severe disease and mortality is reassuring, however further confirmation in larger studies is required. 

A second study that performed analysis of the self-reported data found that the B117 novel coronavirus variant had a reproduction rate 1.35 times higher than normal coronavirus variants. No evidence of increased disease severity was found.

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Disclaimer: This article is issued in the general public interest and meant for general information purposes only. Readers are advised not to rely on the contents of the article as conclusive in nature and should research further or consult an expert in this regard.

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