The new coronavirus strain that emerged in South Africa is even more problematic than a mutated form that prompted new lockdowns across much of the U.K., health authorities said on Monday.
“I’m incredibly worried about the South African variant,” U.K. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on BBC radio Monday, citing a conversation over the Christmas holiday with his counterpart in South Africa. “One of the reasons they know they’ve got a problem is because, like us, they have an excellent genomic scientific capability to be able to study the details of the virus. And it is even more of a problem than the U.K. new variant.”
The South Africanvariant is driving a surge of infections in the country, and like the U.K. strain, it appears to be more infectious than previous mutations. Still, there’s no evidence yet that the Covid-19 vaccines approved so far won’t work against the new strains.
Shots will probably still be effective against the U.K. variant of the coronavirus, while questions surrounding the South African version remain, John Bell, an Oxford professor working with the U.K. government on its vaccine program, told Times Radio on Sunday. It’s unlikely the mutations would “turn off” the effective vaccines entirely, Bell said.
210,479 in U.S.Most new cases today
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