U.K. coronavirus variant on course ‘to sweep the world,’ scientist says

U.K. coronavirus variant on course ‘to sweep the world,’ scientist says

February 12, 2021: According to the head of U.K.’s genetic surveillance program, a new coronavirus variant first found in the U.K., has since been identified in over 80 countries, could become the dominant form of the virus worldwide,

“The new variant has swept the country, and it’s going to sweep the world, in all probability,” Professor Sharon Peacock, director of the Covid-19 Genomics U.K. Consortium, says.

Peacock heads up was created in April 2020 and brings together experts and institutes to collect, sequence, and analyze genomes of the virus in response to U.K.’s pandemic. Till now, it has tracked the genetic history of more than 250,000 samples of the virus.

Viruses mutate all the time, but experts become concerned when a virus mutates to become more transmissible, as in this case. The higher infection rates in the U.K. are likely to lead to more hospitalizations and more deaths. As a result, containing it has become a priority.

The variant spread quickly in the southeast of England and London and has become the dominant strain in the U.K.

It’s challenging to know the exact origin of the mutation. Given the consortium’s work, it was likely to find new variants in the U.K. (other countries that have advanced genome sequencing of the virus, like Denmark and South Africa, have discovered variants too).

Peacock, a professor at the University of Cambridge, said that she believed the sequencing of coronavirus variants would be required for at least ten years.

According to Johns Hopkins University, there have been over 107 million coronavirus cases and over 2.3 million deaths around the world.

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