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The coronavirus variant that was first detected last month in the UK has spread to dozens of countries, and is likely to be transmitted by infected people who have traveled around the world and brought with them microscopic invaders without their knowledge.
Researchers say the new alternative – Dubbed B.1.1.7 It may have originated in the southeast region of England in September, before it was discovered there in November. according to New report From Imperial College London, the British lockdown in November did little to limit its spread, which was most prevalent among young people under the age of 20. World Health Organization Says The new variant is responsible for more than half of the new infections in the United Kingdom
The alternative is now in Dozens Of countries, including United States of America, As it infected people in Colorado, California and Florida. Europe is full of variant, which has been reported in Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. It has also been discovered in Asia, Australia, the Middle East and South America.
And the new version of the virus is already mutating – 17 mutations have been detected, NPR global health reporter Micheline Docliffe Tell Weekend version. “Mutations appear in viruses all the time, when the virus grows inside a person – specifically when it multiplies and makes a batch of copies of it,” said Docliffe. The mutations are caused by random errors during virus replication.
“In the vast majority of cases, these errors are harmless or even weaken the virus,” Docliffe said. “But in rare cases, mutations can help the virus – they can give it that support or a small advantage over other versions.”
The good news is that the new look doesn’t appear to be more deadly. But it is much more contagious – researchers are still trying to determine exactly how much more, but many have estimated that it could be 50% more transmissible than the original strain. That may be because it leads to an increase The burden or viral load Inside a person’s nose or respiratory system – thus it is more easily dispersed when people talk or cough. Another theory is that the new variant binds more easily to human cells.
The alternative helps drive the current spike in cases in the UK, which has seen a massive spike in recent weeks. Depending To the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, December set a record for new cases there, with more than 862,000 added that month.
December was especially bad for the United States, with the month seeing record highs – not only in 6.3 million new cases, but also in new deaths. More than 77,000 people died here from COVID-19 last month – bringing the number of coronavirus deaths in the country to 348,000, as of Saturday afternoon.
Now, health care workers are preparing for an especially deadly January, as the United States witnesses the travel fallout over the Christmas holidays. President-elect Joe Biden careful This week, “The next few weeks and months will be very difficult, a very difficult period for our nation – perhaps the most difficult during this entire pandemic.”
In the United Kingdom, the surrogate is just one of several mutations scientists have discovered. according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, A variant that appeared in South Africa in October that shares some of the same mutations as the British variant. Another mutation is found in Nigeria. None of the variants are thought to be more dangerous.