Variant of coronavirus B117 may be up to 40% more lethal

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The British website The Guardian reported on Friday (22) more preliminary data on the new variant of the coronavirus, B117. The initial analysis, carried out by the New Respiratory Virus Threat Advisory Group (Nervtag), indicated that the strain may be responsible for up to 40% increase in the UK mortality rate. Researchers called for more preventive measures and said the discovery could mean “going back to square one”.

Nervtag, however, says the analysis is preliminary and lacks more data for an accurate conclusion. The entity explains that few people participated in the limited study and, therefore, should carry out more tests in the coming months to “clarify its positioning”.

Patrick Vallance, chief scientific adviser, details the initial study in numbers. According to him, the increase in the mortality rate means about 3 to 4 deaths for every 1000 people aged 60 and over. In this sense, the mortality rate of the new strain totals between 13 and 14 deaths, a considerable increase in relation to the number of the original variant, with an average of 10 deaths. In addition, another study points out that the variant can be up to 70% more transmissible.

At the moment, the priority for scientists is to find out whether variant B117, as well as variants found in Brazil and South Africa, can affect the performance of the different types of vaccines offered by the market. The American Pfizer has already spoken out at the beginning of the month, saying that its solution is resistant and immunizes even the new strains with a higher rate of transmission. However, the analyzes still need more data for a definitive conclusion.

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